The battle for the recapture of Mosul began, with the Iraqi government and pro-government forces, along with the army of the Peshmerga of Iraqi Kurdistan mobilizing and gaining ground from the jihadists of the Islamic State.
But while the operation of Mosul will continue for several weeks or months, the claims have already begun as to who will control this region, which is rich in oil deposits.
Baghdad, supported by the US, clarifies that Mosul belongs to Iraq, as recognized by international treaties. Indeed, the central Iraqi government will have the final say to military operations but also to what will happen after the defeat of the Islamic State.
Mosul was captured by the Islamic State in 2004, forcing the Iraqi army to make a disorderly retreat.
Erdogan speaks of the “rights of Turkey” in Mosul!
And while the efforts of the international coalition started the recapture of Mosul, the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed the view that Turkey in this matter “will be present in the field of battle and on the negotiations table”.
In his speech to the mayors Erdogan went even further and said that “to secure our future we need to be where we must. This place today is Mosul”!
Ankara in recent weeks has begun to express opinions, which accuse those who signed the Treaty of Lausanne!
The Turkish President has also started making references to the “National Contract”, which was the roadmap of the liberation struggle of Kemal Atatürk in 1920.
“Our lands, which reached 2.5 million square kilometers, with Lausanne had been reduced to 700,000. Both on our western and on our southern borders we could not protect the goals of the National Contract. The worst thing is that this situation arose from need; we accepted it and we found ourselves caged. Those who trapped us in this logic are intended to make us forget our presence in the region for 1000 years”, said the Turkish President
These statements by Erdogan show that Ankara claims border changes, with first target the Middle East, mainly in Mosul. The Turkish President in another speech argued that “Turkey respects the existing borders”.
Bagdad does not want Turkey in the region
The Turkish-Iraqi relations however, are strained due to the situation in Mosul, which would explain the sudden visit of US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in Turkey on Friday.
A delegation of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is already in Baghdad to find a solution on the small Turkish military force located in the training camp of Bashika at a distance of 12 km from Mosul.
Iraq has publicly stated that Turkey should withdraw completely from Iraqi territory, and according to some information, at the discussions in Baghdad there might be an agreement to open a security corridor for the withdrawal of the Turkish force located at Bashika.
What does Turkey want in Iraq?
“Do we have rights in Mosul?”, wonders Verda Özer in the newspaper Hurriyet.
“Ankara does not only have political reasons when it speaks of Mosul. There are other reasons too. The first is the National Contract which is the founding declaration of the Turkish Republic which included Mosul. The second reason is the International Exhibition of 1925. In 1923 Turkey was not willing to leave Mosul to Great Britain. The issue was discussed for two years between the two countries. The 1925 the report of the League of Nations left Mosul in Iraq was under British administration, but with the terms of the protection of minority rights. Also, in 1926, with the Ankara Agreement, Turkey consented to Iraq’s independence but would receive 10% of the revenue of the Mosul oil for 25 years and there were special provisions for the protection of Turkmen, as well as for the official tongue to be both Arabic and Turkish in areas where Turkmen constitute the majority”, writes Özer.
These views show that Turkey is looking for ways to find points to claim some of Mosul or even get a share of the oil in the region. Erdogan’s statements are not at all random.
The skilled political analyst Fikret Bila reports that Turkey has the right to intervene in Mosul, due to the right of “self-defense”.
“Turkey has the right to demand from Abadi (pp Iraqi prime minister) to expel the PKK from the Iraqi territories. In the occasion that this country (Iraq) does not expel it, then the country which is under attack by the PKK has the right to intervene and no one can speak of Turkish occupation forces. Baghdad, which is unable to prevent the attacks, cannot have objections to the right of Turkey to self-defence”.
Iraq to Turkey: “You are an occupation force”
But in early October, the Iraqi Parliament has condemned in a resolution the presence of Turkish troops in Bashika.
“Turkey has repeatedly ignored international calls for the withdrawal of its forces”, reported the Iraqi Foreign Ministry on the matter. Their presence, he stressed, is “a violation of territorial sovereignty and shows complete lack of respect for Iraqi sovereignty”.
The representative of the Turkish government Numan Kurtulmuş stated that “no one has the right to oppose the Turkish presence in Bashika, when Iraq is so divided”./IBNA