ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey respects every nation’s geographical boundaries, even if it “weighs on our hearts”, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday, in what appeared to be a reference to the Iraqi city of Mosul, once a part of the Ottoman empire.
His comment came after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declined an offer from Turkey to take part in the battle to dislodge Islamic State from Mosul. Turkey has wanted to take part in the battle. It still sees Mosul as firmly within its sphere of influence.
“Some ignorant people come and say, ‘What relation could you have with Iraq?’ Those geographies that we talk about now are part of our soul,” Erdogan said in a speech.
“Even if it weighs on our hearts, we respect every nation’s geographical borders.”
Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Andrew Roche