Monday, May 27, 2019 | Last Update : 12:24 AM IST

Turkey cites Syria, says boots could land in Iraq

AFP
Published : Oct 26, 2016, 7:25 am IST
Updated : Oct 26, 2016, 7:25 am IST

Turkish foreign minister says it will use resources to eliminate any threat.

Iraqi families who were displaced by the ongoing operation by Iraqi forces against the Islamic State group. — AFP
 Iraqi families who were displaced by the ongoing operation by Iraqi forces against the Islamic State group. — AFP

Turkish foreign minister says it will use resources to eliminate any threat. Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Ankara could launch a ground operation in Iraq to remove any threats to Turkey that may arise.

“If there is a threat posed to Turkey, we are ready to use all our resources including a ground operation... To eliminate that threat,” Mr Cavusoglu said in an interview with Kanal 24 broadcaster.

“It is our most natural right,” he added.

Mr Cavusoglu referred to Turkey’s ambitious offensive in Syria as an example of how Turkey took the threat to its security seriously.

Since August 24, Ankara has supported opposition rebels to clear the Islamic State group (ISIS) from its border and halt the westward advance of the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG.

Turkey views the YPG (People’s Protection Units) as a terror group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is waging an insurgency in Turkey’s southeast.

The PKK is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union but Washington believes the YPG is the most effective force against IS in Syria.

The PKK has bases in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq which the Turkish military regularly hits with its warplanes. Cavusoglu said any threat against Turkey in neighbouring regions of Iraq— including the northern district of Sinjar — could draw a response.

“If the threat to us increases (there), we can deal with them using our rights under international law and our strength including a ground operation,” he added.

The minister said on Monday the PKK wanted to make Sinjar a “second Qandil”, but such actions would not be allowed and that Turkey would “intervene more actively” to stop it happening.

Ankara also said this week it had already hit IS positions with its artillery at the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq. But Baghdad has denied Turkey’s participation in military operations to retake the northern city of Mosul.

Mr Cavusoglu previously said that as a result of the artillery fire from the camp, 17 “terrorists” had been killed. He added that four F-16 fighter jets were also on standby to take part in any international coalition airstrikes in Iraq.

Location: Turkey, Ankara