© NRT English
Erdogan lays claim to Mosul as Turkish.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invoked on Monday an early 20th-century irredentist document that claimed the Iraqi city of Mosul as Turkish soil. Erdogan's remarks came amid the commencement of a long-anticipated operation by the Iraqi Army, Kurdistan's Peshmerga Forces and the US-led Coalition to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State (IS).

In Mosul "a history lies for us. If the gentlemen desire so, let them read the Misak-i Milli (National Oath) and understand what the place means to us," Erdogan declared. The Turkish president referred to an Ottoman Parliament-sealed, 1920 pact that designates Kirkuk and Mosul as parts of Turkey. Erdogan was speaking to the International Law Congress in Istanbul, according to the Kurdistan24 bureau there.

The Turkish President vowed his country would join both the Mosul operation that began in the morning and any talks regarding the Iraqi city's fate in the aftermath of its capture from IS.
© Misaki Mili
The map of Turkey according to the Ottoman Parliament-sealed, 1920 National Oath that designates today's Kurdistan Region, Mosul, Syrian Kurdistan, Aleppo, parts of the Balkans and Caucasus as Turkish soil.

Iraq, Turkey, and the then colonial power of Great Britain agreed in a 1926 Ankara Pact that Iraq should keep the possession of Mosul in light of recommendation by an investigative commission of the League of Nations Council.

"They say Turkey should not enter Mosul. Come on! How do I not enter? I have a 350 kilometers (217 miles)-long border with Iraq. And I am under threat from that border," the Turkish President said. "They tell us to withdraw from Bashiqa. Nobody should expect us to do so," he added. Turkey has a military base near the town of Bashiqa just 15 kilometers (10 miles) north of Mosul despite strong condemnations and calls for withdrawal by the Iraqi Government.

"It is impossible for us to remain outside [the Mosul equation]," said Erdogan adding Turkey told the US it would not be "responsible" for outcomes of any operation it did not take part. All the ground combat forces joining the Mosul Operation are Iraqis, according to an online announcement by General Stephen Townsend of the US' task force in the fight against IS.

Erdogan also warned the US his country would not cooperate with the International Anti-IS Coalition if Americans did not clear the "terrorist" Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) from the Syrian town of Manbij west of the River Euphrates.

"Under the pretext of [IS], Syria and Iraq are facing a huge destruction in the result of operations participated by 63 nations," concluded Erdogan.