On Friday Turkish troops entered Iraq and reached Mosul, north Iraq, without Iraqi government’s permission. Turkish forces, around 130 soldiers, settled near the city of Mosul, and are part of a “long-running training mission”, stated Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Turkish troops fighting against ISIL had already been in the northern region of Iraq, in order to train in the Bashiqa camp, 30km north of Mosul. A Turkish official reported to Reuters “Our soldiers are already in Iraq. A battalion of soldiers has gone there. Training was already being given in that region for the last three years”. Whereas Turkish Prime Minister highlighted that Turkish troops’ activities in Iraq do not represent a war threat.
Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibahim al-Jaafari reported that Turkish troops entered Iraq without announcing it to the government, and defined the act an “incursion” by Turkish troops. Hakim al-Zamili, head of Iraqi parliamentary committee on security and defense, reported that “We may ask Russia for direct military intervention in Iraq in response to the Turkish invasion and violation of Iraq’s sovereignty”.
Former Iraqi president’s advisor Hiwa Osman, reported that “Turkey is really not serious about fighting ISIL” and Turkish forces may have come to Iraq in order to fight against the PKK, Kurdistan Worker’s Party, considered illegal in Turkey.
Turkish authorities stated that coalition countries fighting against ISIL were aware of the Turkish operation. Two US officials confirmed on Friday that US knew about Turkey’s assignment, but added that this is not part of the US-led coalition’s operations.
Isabella MILAN ALBERTIN