Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said yesterday in an interview with al-Jazeera TV, Turkey is crucial in the Mosul operation in order to prevent sectarian clashes in the region.
Saying the Turkish army entered the Bashiqa camp following the Baghdad government's request, Kurtulmuş reiterated that Turkish troops will not withdraw from the camp because it doesn't occupy the camp.
Kurtulmuş underscored that the Turkish army's presence in Mosul aims to support the security of Mosul and secure the demographic structure of the region. "As a historic city containing a population from different ethnic backgrounds, any change in the demographic structure in Mosul would likely destabilize the whole region," he said. Kurtulmuş also called on the Gulf states to declare their support for Turkey before the current tensions among the populations escalate into a sectarian war.
Saying Turkey will not allow any terrorist organization such as Daesh and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Kurtulmuş said they are in support Syria's territorial integrity.
Meanwhile, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Chairman Celal Adan said the U.S.-led coalition is trying to turn Turkey away from Mosul, adding, "Mosul without Turkey is against logic." Adan said nobody can discuss Turkey's right to self-defense and the country cannot accept a fait accompli that will likely result in a new refugee influx on the Turkish-Iraqi border.
Former Iraqi Vice President Tariq Hashimi also warned the U.S.-led coalition about the role of Shiite militias in the Mosul operation. "If these militants enter into the city, the Sunni-majority population of Mosul will show resistance, which will likely lead to bloodshed," Hashimi said.
Hashimi pointed out former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's sectarian policies as a main reason for the ongoing chaos in the country. "The Sunni population in Iraq was alienated and many persecutions were committed against them by the Maliki government, who carried out its politics under the directions of Iran. Now, people think that if Mosul were to be liberated from Daesh, all of Iraq's problems will be gone. That's wrong, this is not a ‘Mosul problem', this is an ‘Iraq problem'," he concluded.
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