While the claims by the US of an “agreement in principle” between Turkey and Iraq on the former’s involvement in the Mosul invasion appear dramatically overstated, further comments suggest that a compromise may ultimately be worked out around getting Turkey away from its goal of playing a direct role in the ground invasion.
Turkey’s Prime Minister insisted earlier in the week that the country was going to participate in the US-led air war over Mosul, which itself appeared to be a compromise allowing them to stay involved without the inevitable conflicts with the Iraqis. Pentagon officials suggested the role might not end up being a military one at all.
US defense officials told the AFP today that they thought it would be easy to find something “productive for Turkey to do,” and suggested it might be providing medical and humanitarian support,” along with the training operations they’re already engaged in with the Kurdish Peshmerga.
Iraq and Turkey have argued about the presence of Turkish ground troops in the country for over a year now, and Iraqi officials have made clear Turkey is not welcome to participate in the ground invasion. Turkish President Erdogan has insisted Iraq has no right to exclude them, and noted historical Turkish territorial claims on Mosul as part of his argument.