Turkey warns of ground offensive in Iraq if threatened


A member of the Iraqi forces holds a position at the al-Shura area, south of Mosul, on October 24, 2016, during an operation to retake the main hub city from the Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (AFP/Ahmad Al-Rubaye)


Ankara vows forceful response in event of attack; foreign minister says ‘it is our most natural right’

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,” Cavusoglu said in an interview with Kanal 24 broadcaster.

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

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 (IS) 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 organization by the United States and the European Union but Washington believes the YPG is the most effective force against IS in Syria.

“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 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.

Full article: Turkey warns of ground offensive in Iraq if threatened (The Times of Israel)

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