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Iran Press TV

Turkey says may launch ground operation into Iraq

Iran Press TV

Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:30PM

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has once again ignored calls for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Iraq, saying Ankara will consider all military options "including ground operations" if security in the Arab country deteriorates.

Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that it would be a "natural right" for Turkey to use its military power to quell threats from the Daesh Takfiri terrorists and Kurdish militants in Iraq, saying Ankara could replicate a decision in Syria and send troops into Iraq to repel potential threats.

"If there is a threat posed to Turkey, we are ready to use all our resources including a ground operation... to eliminate that threat," said Cavusoglu, adding, "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."

Turkey has faced unprecedented criticism for its deployment of a contingent of troops to a camp in northern Iraq as the Arab country gears up for the liberation of the city of Mosul from Daesh. Ankara has ignored Baghdad's calls for a pull-out, saying it deems the presence necessary in light of the security situation in the south.

Turkey is also involved in a similar military intervention in the north of Syria, despite massive criticism by Damascus that the action violates its sovereignty.

The expanding military drive into Iraq and Syria comes amid Turkey's heavy-handed crackdown on militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the country's southeast. The government has justified the Syria action by saying that Kurdish militants fighting Daesh in northern Syria are tied to the PKK.

Ankara says it has managed to clear an area of 1,000 square kilometers along its borders inside Syria over the past two months and that the operation will continue to create a 5,000-square-kilometer safe zone in the Arab country. Turkish-backed militants have recaptured two cities of Jarablus and Dabiq from Daesh during the two-month offensive.

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