Turkish jets are not yet part of the offensive to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from Daesh, but will be deployed when the time comes, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
The operation started on Monday, and Ankara said it should be included as it was concerned that sectarian tensions in Iraq and Syria could lead to an all-out war in the Middle East.
“When it will be necessary it will happen. There is an agreement in principle,” Yildirim told a journalist seeking clarification on Turkey's role in the Mosul offensive. Yildirim was responding to a question about a statement he made on Turkish jets participating in the operation.
At a meeting in Ankara, Yildirim said Turkey would not “turn a blind eye” to developments that could impact its own security and regional stability.
Later on Tuesday, Turkey's Defence Minister Fikri Isik confirmed the country’s air force will join the anti-Daesh operation in Mosul.
Addressing journalists at the Turkish embassy in Rome, after attending a meeting of southeastern Europe's defence ministers, Isik said, "We have come to an agreement with coalition forces that our air force will join the Mosul operation."
Responding to a question about Thurday's multinational summit on Mosul being held in Paris, the defence minister said, "It is impossible to decide on Mosul's future without Turkey."
At least 20 villages were taken from Daesh on the outskirts of Mosul in the first 24 hours of the operation, armed forces said on Tuesday.
Iraqi government troops, the US air force, local militias and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces are driving the operation.
The battle is expected to take weeks, with coalition forces encircling the city of 1 million to oust between 4,000 and 8,000 Daesh fighters.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Tuesday called on all sides in the battle to spare civilians and allow the wounded to be evacuated.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said the assault may see up to 100,000 refugees flee into neighbouring countries.