By: Heydar Soheyli Isfahani

Erdogan and the Mosul dilemma 

October 28, 2016

TEHRAN - It has been a while that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is strongly insisting to participate in the battle to liberate northern Iraqi city of Mosul. He also has come up with some reasons. He argues that he is concerned about the condition of Arab Sunnis. He also has a Strong emphasis on fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Daesh) terrorist group. 

Recently the tone of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has somehow come closer to Erdogan’s, thanking him in a sarcastic tone and accusing him of spreading his influence in the northern Iraq. Taking into consideration of the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s insistence on subjection of Kirkuk’s oil and the new Turkey’s historical alas for loosing northern Iraq and parts of northern Syria, always highlights Ankara’s leadership’s real intentions, including Erdogan.

However, the story is different this time. Baghdad, holds the current Turkish government leaders responsible for supporting terrorist groups ranking them first in this respect. Nonetheless the official charges against Ankara is limited, but the unofficial ones include a vast area. Baghdad believes that ISIL terrorist outfit, to a very high extent, owes its existence to Turkey, and the aim of Ankara is to covertly support and protect key ISIL figures and also to protect the confidential documents regarding the hidden relations between Turkish officials and the ISIL leaders as well as other terrorist groups. Another issue is that Baghdad is suspicious that Ankara might create new network including tribes and nomads and the ISIL terrorist group’s sympathizers under the guise of fighting terrorism.

Turkey categorically rejects such claims, however it does not hide away that it is seriously concerned regarding some Arab Sunni tribes and nomads. Turkey is also very worried about the activity of the Kurds. Analysts believe that sending Kurdish peshmerga forces to liberate Bashiqa which also hosts Turkish base is a wise move from Baghdad. Turkey considers the Kurds under Masoud Barzani’s command as its allies and faces many problems to kick start anti-Mosul operation. Fighting the ISIL terrorist group using forces that like ISIL have dark relation with the Kurds, even some of their family members and relatives are shoulder to shoulder fighting ISIL terrorists, will cause such a mess for Turkey that leaders in Ankara will forget their problems in Syria.

Now if one considers daily Turkish raids on Kurds in Turkey and Syria and the dissatisfaction and anger of Northern Iraqi Kurds has created a quagmire for the Turkish president. Therefore it is not so surprising to see Erdogan thinking and considering different options.

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