– President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday the country was determined to be a part of the coalition forces in the imminent offensive to retake the oil-rich Iraqi city of Mosul from Daesh, reported Anadolu Agency.
“We are determined to take our place among the coalition forces for Iraq’s unity and solidarity,” Erdogan told a mass inauguration ceremony in the central province of Konya.
“You invited us to [Camp] Bashiqa,” he said, referring to the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s demand for a military base in the country.
The president added the coalition forces in Iraq must realize that Turkey was “not a tribal state”.
Turkey and Iraq have engaged in a war of words about the presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq’s Bashiqa.
The president earlier told Abadi to “know his limits,” reminding him the Turkish military presence in Iraq was due to a demand made by Baghdad itself.
Last December, Turkey sent some 150 troops and about two dozen combat tanks to Bashiqa, located some 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) northeast of Mosul.
The deployment – which was criticized at the time by Baghdad – was aimed at protecting Turkish military personnel tasked with training Iraqi volunteers to fight Daesh.
Turkey says its troops are going to be there to prevent any potential sectarian conflict in and around Mosul after the city is taken from Daesh.
The operation could begin as soon as next week if preparations are completed.
– Cooperation with YPG ‘incomprehensible’
Erdogan also slammed the cooperation of U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition forces with the YPG – the armed wing of the PYD, which Turkey considers as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist group.
“We find it difficult to understand why the coalition forces are acting together with the PYD or the YPG,” he said, adding there were 63 countries in the coalition forces and some of them were Turkey’s NATO allies.
“We are their strategic partner. We do not understand them being with a terrorist organization,” he said.
Washington has long maintained that the YPG is an effective partner in the fight against Daesh, and has heavily relied upon it, under the banner of the “Syrian Democratic Forces.”
– Probe against FETO
Turkish president also criticized those who believed the probe against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) had a wide coverage and some people had been aggrieved.
“Those who are really aggrieved are relatives of our 241 martyrs and relations of our 2,194 war veterans,” Erdogan said.
He added if the coup attempt had been successful, Turkey would have turned into another Iraq, Syria or Lebanon.
Turkey accuses FETO, which is said to be behind July 15 coup attempt, of organizing the defeated coup as well as a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
The president also recalled the discussion on the death penalty in Turkey after July 15. He reiterated he would approve the reinstatement of the death penalty if the Turkish parliament backed it.
He also denied allegations of torture in prisons for July 15-linked suspects. “Whatever conditions other prisoners are staying in at the prisons they are hosted under the same circumstances,” he said.
Turkey will not stop the fight against terrorist organizations such as FETO, the PKK, and Daesh until all of them are cleared, he added.