Istanbul, Oct 17 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday reiterated his country’s resolve to join the operation to reclaim the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
“Turkey has a 350-km-long border with Iraq and is under constant threat,” Xinhua news agency quoted Erdogan as saying.
Despite Baghdad’s strong opposition, the Turkish leader vowed that Ankara “will involve (itself) in the operation and also we will be at the table” in the aftermath of the offensive.
“It is not possible for Turkey to stay out of it,” he said.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has vowed not to allow Ankara to participate in the offensive to liberate Mosul “under any circumstances”.
Tensions have grown between the two countries over the presence of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa camp near Mosul, the second largest Iraqi city that came under IS control in June 2014.
Early on Monday, Al-Abadi declared the start of the long-awaited campaign, backed by a US-led coalition.
The campaign is the biggest in Iraq since the withdrawal of US troops in 2011.