Posted on October 18, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Politics
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Photo: AP
ISTANBUL,— Turkey’s air force has been involved in coalition air strikes on the Iraqi city of Mosul, part of the U.S.-backed operation to flush out Islamic State, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Tuesday.
Turkey has been locked in a row with Baghdad about the presence of its troops at the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq and over who should take part in the U.S.-backed assault on Mosul.
Turkey has said it trained up to 3,000 forces taking part but is concerned the operation could stoke sectarian tensions.
The Turkish troop presence in the region of Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul has stirred tension with Baghdad. Iraq says they are in “blatant violation” of Iraqi sovereignty and had demanded their withdrawal. Turkey says the troops were invited by Iraqi forces and has ignored the calls.
On October 11, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to “know your place,” and said that he is “not on my level.”
The Iraqi parliament, in a majority vote on October 5, rejected the extension of the mandate of Turkish troops in Iraq and called for a review of relations with Turkey.
There are 800 Turkish troops deployed in the Mosul and Shaqlawa regions, the move that sparked a crisis between Ankara and Baghdad. Turkey sent a contingent of an additional 150 forces and 25 tanks in December 2015 to bolster its military presence in the Bashiqa camp, an area that has seen recent fighting.
Iraqi leaders said in December 2015 that hundreds of new Turkish troops had arrived without their knowledge or approval, calling it a violation of its sovereignty.
According to reports on Sunday, Turkish state have sent reinforcements, which are to participate in Mosul operation, to Bashiqa through Duhok.
Local sources in Duhok city in Iraqi Kurdistan informed Firat News Agency agency that 1,200 more Turkish soldiers, 8 tanks and several armored vehicles were deployed to Bashiqa region on Saturday night.
Iraq early Monday after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of fighting to regain the Mosul.
The Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces launched a massive offensive late Sunday to retake Mosul – the last IS stronghold in northern Iraq, which was overrun by the jihadi group in 2014.