NATO holds emergency meeting on Iraq crisis at Turkey's request

Turkey calls on NATO to hold emergency meeting after militant group ISIL kidnaps 80 citizens seized in two separate incidents, including Turkish consular staff

NATO holds emergency meeting on Iraq crisis at Turkey's request

World Bulletin/News Desk

NATO ambassadors held an emergency meeting at Turkey's request on Wednesday on the situation in northern Iraq, wheremilitants have seized swathes of territory and taken 80 Turkish citizens hostage.

"Turkey briefed the other allies on the situation in (the Iraqi city of) Mosul and the hostage-taking of Turkish citizens, including the consul general," a NATO official said.

He said the meeting was held for informational purposes and not under Article 4 of NATO's founding treaty, which permits a member of the 28-nation alliance to ask for consultations with other allies when it feels its security is threatened.

"Allies continue to follow events very closely and with grave concern," the official said.

He said attacks by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Mosul represented "a serious threat to the security of Iraq and to the stability of the region".

NATO has not received any request for help from the Iraqi authorities related to the latest developments in Mosul, the official said.

"Retaliation"

Turkey's Foreign Ministry has confirmed 49 Turkish consulate staff members, including the consul-general and family members, have been abducted by Islamic State of Iraq and Levant militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The abductions came Wednesday, a day after ISIL took control of Iraq's second-largest city and seized 31 Turkish truck drivers who were transporting fuel to a thermal power plant.

Speaking as he prepared to leave a UN meeting on counter-terrorism in the United States to return to Ankara, the Turkish capital, to deal with the incident, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the Iraqi government was responsible for the security of the consulate staff.

"No one should dare test Turkey's power," he said, adding that Turkey would not allow any harming of its nationals to go unpunished.  

"Right now we're engaged in calm crisis management, considering our citizens' security," Davutoglu said in New York after cancelling meetings at the U.N. to return to Turkey.

"This should not be misunderstood. Any harm to our citizens and staff would be met with the harshest retaliation," he told reporters in comments broadcast on Turkish television.

Davutoglu said he had called for the evacuation of the consulate in Mosul several days ago but that the situation on the ground had been too dangerous for that to take place.

He said on his Twitter account late on Tuesday, after the truck drivers were taken, that the necessary measures had been taken for the safety of the Turkish consulate in Mosul.

'Maximum alert'

The ministry strongly condemned the abductions and said Turkey would use every means available to save its consulate staff. 

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan chaired an emergency meeting with senior government figures over the incident.  

Turkish President Abdullah Gul also summoned Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru to Turkey's presidential palace to be briefed on developments in Mosul.

Turkey also called on NATO to hold an emergency meeting after the militants kidnapped the Turkish diplomatic staff.

More than 300,000 residents have fled Mosul, where security forces and militants have been clashing since Friday. 

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Tuesday that Iraq had been placed on "maximum alert" and called on the Iraqi parliament to declare a national state of emergency. 

 

Last Mod: 11 Haziran 2014, 21:48
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