Turkey objected to possible US air strikes on militant targets in Iraq on Thursday, a day after the US announced that the Iraqi government has officially asked for such attacks to help it deal with a mounting insurgency that now threatens Iraq’s territorial integrity.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said any air strike on Iraq could cause considerable civilian deaths and that the US does not view such a strategy as favorable.
In his remarks in Ankara, before departing for Vienna on Thursday, Erdoğan indicated that Turkey, which has seen 80 of its citizens held captive by the insurgents of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq more than a week ago, will not welcome an air attack on Iraq.
“America, looking at its stance and recent statements, does not view such attacks positively. Because the ISIL elements are mixed with the civilians there, such an operation could result in a serious number of civilian deaths,” Erdoğan said.
The Foreign Ministry did not immediately confirm the report or provide any further information about Turkey’s stance on the possibility of an air strike in Iraq.
Eighty Turkish citizens, including Turkey’s Consul General Öztürk Yılmaz, special forces soldiers, diplomats, children and truckers — which Turkey says are being “held” in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul — have been seized by ISIL militants. Ankara, which seems watchful of its remarks over the Mosul crisis, issued a reporting ban on the seizure of Turks in Mosul on the grounds that a ban would safeguard the hostages.
According to the pro-government Sabah daily Erdoğan asked the US Vice President Joe Biden not to carry out a military operation against ISIL that would endanger the Turkish citizens taken hostage in Mosul on Sunday.
During a daily press briefing on Wednesday US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki avoided commenting directly on Turkey’s alleged demand for Washington to wait until the release of Turkish hostages and said the US has various options over the crisis in Iraq and it is considering factors on the ground… see more