Turkey to make bid to join Mosul offensive

Turkey to make bid to join Mosul offensive
2 min read
15 October, 2016
Following weeks of diplomatic battling between Turkey and Iraq, President Erdogan has said he will unveil a plan to bring Turkish troops into the Mosul offensive.
Erdogan wants Turkish troops to play a role in the Mosul offensive [AFP]

Turkey said it will approach its coalition partners about possibly joining a major US-backed Iraqi offensive to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the offer would be presented by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during Syria crisis talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne, which began earlier Saturday. 

Cavusoglu "will present a proposal to coalition forces in Lausanne", Erdogan said in a televised speech.

"We are ready to fight there against [IS] and other terror groups," he added.

The Turkish president on Friday warned that Ankara would have to resort to a "plan B" if its proposal to join the Mosul offensive was turned down, without indicating what that could mean.

There are concerns about possible massacres by Shia militias in the city, while the presence of Kurdish fighters might also be making Ankara feel uneasy.

Turkey and Iraq are also at loggerheads over the presence of Turkish troops in Basiqa camp near Mosul.

Although Ankara says they are there to train local fighters planning to take part in the operation, the Iraqi parliament has labelled them an "occupying force".

"Nobody should talk about our base in Basiqa," Erdogan said on Saturday.

"That base will remain there because Basiqa is... an insurance against possible terror attacks targeting Turkey."