Threat to Turkmen area near Mosul ‘not to be underestimated,’ PM Erdoğan warns
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that a meeting will be held in Ankara about the situation of Turkmens in Iraq over the developments in Telafer. AFP PhotoTurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has expressed concern about the situation of Turkmens after Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants extended their offensive to Mosul’s Telafer district in northern Iraq, where many Turkmens live.
“The developments in Telafer are something that cannot be underestimated. As is known, Telafer is an area mainly inhabited by Turkmens. Almost half of the Turkmens there are Sunni, but the other half are Shia,” Erdoğan said during a rally in the Black Sea province of Trabzon on June 16.
The prime minister also warned against a sectarian war in Iraq. “This issue has gone beyond a matter of ISIL elements. The offensive could go sectarian clashes, maybe to sectarian war,” Erdoğan stated.
His statement came a few hours after the Foreign Ministry issued a warning about sectarian clashes in Iraq.
The prime minister also announced that he would hold another extraordinary meeting after returning to Ankara. “We will decide what kind of steps we will make in the meeting after returning [to Ankara],” Erdoğan said.
At least five Turkmens, including women and children, were killed after ISIL launched a mortar fire attack in the Telafer district in June 15, Anadolu Agency has reported.
Around 5,000 Turkmens are believed to live in Telafer, where security is assured by a local police force.