Ankara, October 7, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Bagdad to Ankara: “Promptly remove your occupation forces from N. Iraq”
What are Turkey’s plans for Mosul?
By Manolis Kostidis
Tension has risen between Baghdad and Ankara on the presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq. But almost all political analysts agree that the goal of Turkey is to participate in the liberation of Mosul from the hands of the jihadists -an operation which perhaps is going to take place in November.
Ankara seems to be targeting the oil fields of the region. More likely there is a connection to this claims and the questioning of the Lausanne Treaty by Recep Tayyip Erdogan ten days ago. With the Lausanne Treaty Turkey withdrew its claims on Mosul and Kirkuk and conceded that area to the British administration in 1926.
“Turkey wants to participate in the recapture of Mosul to show that it is an important player in the region and gain a place on the negotiations table during the sharing of the region”, says Cumhuriyet columnist Asli Aydintasbas.
The Iraqi Parliament on Tuesday called on Turkey to withdraw its military force from the northern Iraqi city of Bashika. About 500 Turkish soldiers are located there since March 2015, whose purpose according to the Ankara is to train the men who will take part in the fighting against the Islamic State. Bashika is just 12 km from Mosul.
The Iraqi Parliament called these Turkish forces as “occupying forces”. Ankara’s response was contemptuous, with the representative of the Turkish government Numan Kurtulmuş stating: “they speak of national sovereignty but where were they when others took over Mosul”?
Erdogan: “Mosul must only have Sunnites”
The Turkish president however, in a television interview had revealed the intentions of Turkey when he said that “nobody has the right to invade Mosul. After the liberation of Mosul from the “Islamic State” only Sunni Arabs, Turkmen and Sunni Kurds should stay there”.
Essentially, the Turkish president showed that Turkey wants the region to be controlled by Sunni Muslims, ignoring the intentions of the Shiites, who are the majority in Iraq and Iran.
Hürriyet reports that in Iraq “it is claimed that Turkey would invade Muslim, which has no connection with reality”.
However, the Defence Minister of Turkey Fikri Isik said that “we will certainly participate in the operation in Mosul, while on the other hand, we will reach up to Al Bab in Syria. But we will do that with our own methods”.
Muharrem Sarikaya of the newspaper Habertürk reports that Turkish officials say: ‘We will get in Muslim – as we were told by a member of the Turkish Government – on the invitation of the leader of the Kurdish Administration in Iraq Mesut Barzani”.
Ankara – Kurds cooperation in N. Iraq
What is being said here is the impressive fact of the cooperation of the Kurds in northern Iraq with Ankara for the control of Mosul. Between northern Iraq and the central Iraqi government there are serious disagreements over the revenue of the northern Iraqi oil and Barzani so far appears to be siding with Turkey on the issue of Mosul.
On Thursday, the Kurdish administration of northern Iraq announced that “Turkish forces are in Bashika at the invitation of the Iraqi Kurdistan Administration”.
So far the tactic of Turkey is not in line with that of the US and Iran. Washington wants the unity of Iraq and supports the central government in Baghdad. Besides, US officials have made it clear that “Baghdad must decide which forces will participate in the operation of Mosul”.
Tehran, which forces are battling jihadists in Iraq, is concerned about Erdogan’s statements regarding who will live in Mosul.
“If there is a country that is entitled to speak of Mosul, apart from Iraq, is Turkey. The Turkmen in the region were never protected by Baghdad. Until 1987 the Turkish budget documents the rights that should be collected by the oil of the region. Our forces in Bashika are following the demand of the northern Iraqi Kurds. Turkey has a greater right than even the US to participate in the battles of Mosul and then be on the negotiations table”, says Fikret Bila in Hürriyet, explaining the views of the Turkish Government.
Shiites: “If the Turks don’t leave they will be considered our enemies”
However, the leader of the Iranian Shiite forces in Iraq Yusuf Kilabi threatens Ankara and declares that “if Turkey does not withdraw from Iraq by the beginning of the Mosul operation we will fight both against the Islamic State and Turkey. We will treat them as enemies”.
“The Turkey-Northern Iraq alliance does not have the power to change the balance in the region. I can not understand this discussion”, writes Nuray Mert in Cumhuriyet.
With an ironic article in the same newspaper, Kadri Gursel states that “if the government sents tanks in Mosul two things will happen. Muslim would be ours and we will remove the possibility of a coup! Since a coup cannot be accomplished without tanks. Let’s send them out!”
In September 2015 Iraq had once again demanded the withdrawal of Turkish forces from the Bashika. After pressures from Washington Ankara installed its forces in another area near the previous base. But as the time of the battle of Mosul approaches, tension on both sides seems to be intensifying. Besides, only just recently the Turkish President was speaking of failed negotiations regarding the Treaty of Lausanne.