Erdogan says Iraq unable to liberate Mosul on its own, defends Turkish intervention

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. File photo

ARA News

Ankara Iraq is unable to drive the Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants from the city of Mosul on its own, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

Erdogan also defended the presence of Turkish troops in a military camp in Bashiqa District near Mosul, stressing that those forces are there to protect Turkey’s border from possible ISIS attacks.

Iraq’s government and parliament previously called on the Turkish military to leave Iraq. Some analysts worry that the tensions between Turkey and the Iraq could delay the operation to retake Mosul, which is planned for this month.

According to reports, more than 60,000 forces from the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Peshmerga are now finalizing plans to attack ISIS in Mosul and push the group out of its main bastion in Iraq.

Turkey sees Mosul as a traditional zone of influence, blaming the British for losing it in 1926.

“If Turkey was simply concerned about fighting ISIS, this would be less of a problem. But this is an effort to set [up] a zone of influence,” said Kirk Sowell, a political risk analyst based in Amman, Jordan. 

“[Turkey’s deployment] could increase the chance of direct conflict between Baghdad forces and Turkey-backed Sunni forces, or even Turkish forces directly,” Sowell added.

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