If the people of Mosul are forced to flee their lands they will all end up in Turkey and not Washington or a European country. So Turkey is a natural player in the game and not the odd man out as the Iraqi prime minister would like to see
The much awaited military operation to wipe out Daesh from the Iraqi city of Mosul is now underway with a two-pronged offensive by the Iraqi army and the Kurdish peshmerga forces. The peshmerga forces have driven out Daesh from more than 11 villages around Mosul and are going strong, while what the so-called Shiite Iraqi army is doing remains a mystery.
Stability and security in Mosul province is vital for our country as it is not only the gateway for Turkey to Baghdad and the Arab Gulf but also a place where the relatives of our citizens in southeastern Turkey live. Mosul, a former Ottoman province, is of strategic importance for Turkey.
Any adverse development in Mosul is a threat to Turkey's security and well-being. Turkish officials rightfully stress that if the people of Mosul are forced to flee their lands they will all end up in Turkey and not Washington or any other European country. So Turkey is a natural player in the game and not the odd man out as the Iraqi prime minister would like to see.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stresses that a game is being staged in Mosul that may end up in a major conflict between Sunnis and Shiites and says Turkey will not be held responsible for the consequences in an operation that tries to keep it out of the picture. What does this mean? The answer is simple: Turkey told the international community to deal with the unacceptable situation on its Syrian borders where Daesh was sending missiles into our towns and cities as well as suicide bombers to terrorize our people. When the international community failed to respond, Turkey sent its forces into northern Syria and with the help of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) it liberated several Syrian settlements and cleared its neighboring border regions from the terrorists. So what Turkey did in Syria could well be repeated in Iraq if the Americans fail to hold off the Iraqi Shiites and the PKK militants from Mosul.Turkey wants the Sunni Arab status of Mosul to be preserved. It does not want the Shiite militia to enter the city and sow the seeds of a massive sectarian conflict on our doorstep. It is deeply concerned that the Iraqi Army troops are holding up Shiite banners as they advance on Mosul, which to say the least is alarming.
Turkey also does not want the PKK terrorists to exploit the war situation and carve up corridors for itself that will link it to the Kurdish terrorists in Syria.
The Americans have given guarantees that Kurdish forces and the Iraqi Shiites will not be let into Mosul once the major part of the fighting is completed and that Sunni Arab forces trained by Turkey will enter and police the city along with other Sunni Arabs loyal to the coalition forces.
What is rather strange in all this is the question on why the Americans have been so hasty to launch this operation against Mosul just a few weeks before the U.S. presidential elections. Some say the Democrats are trying to rally support for Hillary Clinton.
However, the real question is why the Americans have set Mosul as their priority and not a joint operation against Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria to get rid of Daesh once and for all. Turkey has shown what can be done against Daesh in Syria in a matter of weeks so why can't this be repeated against the Daesh stronghold of Raqqa?