Turkey on alarm after consul general's convoy hit by bomb in north Iraq
ANKARA / MOSUL
This file photo shows an Iraqi soldier stands guard amid tight security measures by Iraqi security forces that sealed off the roads around a protest site in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. AP Photo/Hadi MizbanAn attack against a convoy transporting Turkey’s consul general in northern Iraq has raised concerns in Turkey over the protection of its missions in a restive Iraq amid worries that they could be threatened by militant groups in the country.
Turkey immediately called on Iraqi authorities to upgrade security measures for its missions in Iraq.
The convoy of Turkey’s consul general, Öztürk Yılmaz, was hit by a bombing between the cities of Mosul and Arbil Sept.2, although no casualties were reported, diplomatic sources said. The blast, which struck in Mosul, damaged all four vehicles in the convoy as it was en route to the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital Arbil. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu immediately called the consul general for more information.
“We are looking into the bombing and trying to find out whether our general consul was an explicit target,” a Foreign Ministry official said, adding that it was not yet clear who perpetrated the attack. “The investigation is continuing. We contacted Iraqi authorities immediately after the incident and asked that the culprits be found and that the security of our missions be enhanced.”
Violence has spiked sharply in recent months in Iraq, and Mosul and surrounding Nineveh province in particular remains one of the country’s most dangerous areas, regularly suffering deadly gun and bomb attacks. Turkey has consul generals in the cities of Basra, Mosul, Arbil and an embassy in Baghdad.
Ties between Iraq and Turkey have worsened considerably in recent years, and the blast against the consul is not the first suffered by Turkey’s diplomatic mission in the country.
In January 2012, at least one mortar round struck the outer compound wall of the Turkish embassy in Baghdad, but caused no casualties.
That attack came just a day after Turkey summoned Iraq’s ambassador to protest claims it was meddling in Baghdad’s affairs by voicing concern over a domestic political crisis.