Turkey is determined to be a part of the planned operation to retake Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul from Daesh, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
During the past week, Turkey and Iraq traded barbs over the deployment of Turkish troops in the Iraqi town of Bashiqa, near Mosul.
The exchange of harsh words came ahead of an offensive planned by the Iraqi government to retake Mosul, which has been under the control of Daesh since June 2014.
"We are determined to take our place among the coalition forces for Iraq’s unity and solidarity," said Erdogan. "You invited us to [Camp] Bashiqa."
“If the coalition forces do not want Turkey, then our plan B will come into play and if that doesn’t work then our plan C will kick in. The Turkish Republic isn’t a tribal state. Let them know this as it is.”
Iraqi parliament lately defined Turkish troops in the country as "occupation forces,” but Turkey says the central government in Baghdad originally agreed with the deployment.
The countries have summoned respective ambassadors to discuss the issue.
Earlier in December, Turkish troops arrived at the Bashiqa camp, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) northeast of Daesh-held city of Mosul at the request of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The troops have been training Sunni Arab and Kurdish Peshmerga forces to fight Daesh since then.
Turkey has also sent some 150 troops and about two dozens combat tanks to protect its military personnel.
Ankara 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.
Coalition's cooperation with YPG "incomprehensible"
President Erdogan also slammed the US-led anti-Daesh coalition forces' cooperation with the YPG, which is the armed wing of the PYD.
Turkey says the group is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and the EU.
"We find it difficult to understand why the coalition forces are acting together with PYD or YPG," Erdogan 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 organisation," 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."