“We are determined to take our place among the coalition forces for Iraq’s unity and solidarity,” Erdogan told a mass inauguration ceremony in the central province of Konya.
“You invited us to [Camp] Bashiqa,” Erdogan said, referring to the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s demand for the formation of a military base in the country.
Last December, Turkey sent some 150 troops and about two dozens combat tanks to Camp Bashiqa, located some 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) northeast of the Daesh-held city of Mosul.
The deployment – which was criticized at the time by Baghdad – was aimed at protecting Turkish military personnel tasked with training Iraqi volunteers to fight Daesh.
The operation could begin as soon as next week if preparations are completed.
The countries have summoned respective ambassadors for consultations. Coalition’s cooperation with YPG “imcomprehensible”
Erdogan also slammed the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition forces’ cooperation with the YPG, which is the armed wing of the PYD, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU.
“We find it difficult to understand why the coalition forces are acting together with PYD or YPG,” Erdogan said, adding there were 63 countries in the coalition forces and some of them were Turkey’s NATO allies.
“We are their strategic partner. We do not understand them being with a terrorist organization,” he said.