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DIPLOMACY >Turkey has 'prepared contingency plans' for Baghdad Embassy

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An image grab taken from a video uploaded on Youtube on June 12, 2014, allegedly shows Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants taking part in a military parade in the northern city of Mosul. AFP Photo / YouTube

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on Youtube on June 12, 2014, allegedly shows Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants taking part in a military parade in the northern city of Mosul. AFP Photo / YouTube

Turkey has made contingency plans for its embassy in Baghdad, but the mission is not under threat at the moment, Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru told reporters June 15.

Yet, the capital city has the risk since the militants took control of the surrounding region, therefore the Turkish citizens should leave Baghdad, he said.

Koru, who is coordinating the recently established crisis desk on Iraq, also stressed a large number of Turkish citizens were working in Iraq and many did not have legal status.

Turkish authorities have launched humanitarian aid to Northern Iraq for residents of Mosul who had to escape after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) offensive on the city, he said.

Koru refrained from commenting on whether a military option had come to the agenda of phone conversations between Turkish and U.S. leaders.

“We don’t think the 49 consulate members are taken hostage, but they are abducted, because there is not a negotiation with militants for give and take,” Koru said.

Concern on sectarian clashes

Koru also warned that the crisis could gain a dimension of “sectarian clashes.” “We are concerned that this could become more important,” he said.

Earlier the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a written statement stressing clashes were quickly spreading from one region to another, increasing the risks of a sectarian conflict.

The ministry called on Turkish nationals in the provinces of Mosul, Kirkuk, Salahaddin, Diyala, Anbar and Baghdad to be cautious and leave these regions as soon as possible.

Turkish Airlines is continuing its evacuation operations at the country’s main airports in Baghdad, Basra, Arbil, Najaf and Suleymaniye, said the statement.

Turkey is continuing efforts for the release of 31 Turkish truck drivers kept in the Geyara district of Mosul as well as for the abducted Turkish nationals at the Turkish Consulate, the ministry noted.

June/15/2014

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