World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey continues its intensive efforts to save its officials and civilians in Iraq, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Tuesday.
In a press meeting at Tekirdag province, Gul said: "We see that Iraq is evolving into internal strife. That shows how much Islamic unity is disturbed."
Militants linked with ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, abducted 49 people from the Turkish consulate in the flashpoint city of Mosul on Wednesday, one day after seizing 31 Turkish lorry drivers.
ISIL, which already controls of parts of Syria, has extended its reach into Iraq since July 10, when it seized the country’s second-largest city Mosul and soon afterwards took near-complete control of the city of Tikrit.
Gul declined to comment on the opposition parties’ possible presidential candidate declared on Monday. Turkey's two major opposition groups, the Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), declared they will support Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, a Turkish diplomat and former head of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.
"We are getting close to the presidential elections; as Turkey's president, I have to keep my supra-political position," Gul said.
"However, I am also founder of the [ruling] AK Party. We will evaluate our plans inside the AK Party," he said.
PM pledges safe return of its 49 abducted citizens
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged a safe return of their 49 citizens abducted in Iraq.
“Everything possible is being done for the safe return of our citizens abducted by the ISIL - Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - in Iraq”, said Erdogan while speaking at the parliamentary group meeting of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Tuesday.
“The consulate staff in Mosul didn't have a choice but to surrender because all security staff had abandoned their positions”, said Erdogan. “Iraqi central government failed to protect our consulate staff in Mosul.”
Criticizing the role of the foreign occupations in the creation of current vicious circle of violence in the Middle East Erdogan said, “The western powers, unaware of the importance of the Middle Eastern region, sowed seeds of discord, took its oil and abandoned it.”
“Turkey has never taken sides in the regional sectarian clashes in the Middle East,” he said. “Turkey has always been on the side of justice and righteousness without discrimination among Muslim factions in the Middle East.”
“We could also remain silent on injustice and murders in Iraq, Syria and Egypt like certain countries but we preferred to speak out for the oppressed people of these countries”, added Erdogan.Last Mod: 17 Haziran 2014, 15:30