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U.S. Official: Turkey, Iraq Have Agreement 'In Principle' On Mosul


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) meets with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter at the Presidential Palace in Ankara on October 21.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says Turkey and Iraq have reached a tentative agreement that could allow Turkish forces to take part in the campaign to retake Mosul from Islamic State (IS) fighters.

Carter said after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, and Defense Minister Fikri Isik in Ankara that details still need to be worked out and Baghdad needs to give a final approval but that Iraq understands that Turkey "will play a role" in counter-IS operations in Iraq.

Relations between Iraq and Turkey have been plagued in recent months by the presence of Turkish forces at the Bashiqa camp north of Mosul.

Iraqi officials have demanded the Turkish forces leave Iraq but Turkey has rejected those calls, saying its forces were asked to come to Iraq to train forces that are fighting IS militants.

Erdogan has voiced frustration that Turkey has not been asked to be more closely involved in the U.S.-backed operations to force IS fighters from Mosul, which was once part of the Ottoman Empire.

Carter -- who said Washington supports a role for Turkey in the Mosul operation -- noted that humanitarian aid and other nonmilitary assistance was also a possibility for Ankara.

"But now we're down to the practicalities of that...and that's what we're working through."

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters