NATO chief visiting Turkey amid Mosul security crisis
Rasmussen will meet both President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. during his talks in Ankara June 16.NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is set to arrive for talks in Turkey, as efforts continue to secure the safe release of dozens of Turkish nationals taken hostage by a jihadist group in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
During his visit to Ankara on June 16, Rasmussen will meet both President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
According to a written statement released by the Foreign Ministry on June 15, Rasmussen’s visit will include discussions on preparations for the run-up to the NATO’s upcoming summit in Wales in early September. However, the 49 Turkish citizens taken hostage by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) insurgents on June 11 - including diplomats, special forces soldiers and children, inside Turkey’s consulate in Mosul - will inevitably the priority of the visit.
In addition to Gül and Erdoğan, Rasmussen will also hold meetings with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, according to the brief Foreign Ministry statement. Rasmussen is expected to arrive in Ankara late June 15.
On June 12, Rasmussen had said that he did not foresee a role for NATO in Iraq after the seizure of the Turkish consulate in Mosul.
“We urge the hostage takers to release the hostages immediately. Nothing can justify this criminal act ... I don’t see a role for NATO in Iraq, but of course we will follow the situation closely and urge all parties involved to stop the violence,” Rasmussen said during a conference in Madrid.
Earlier last week, a group of 31 Turkish truck drivers were also captured by ISIL.
Over the weekend, Turkish officials have made clear that there are no immediate plans to launch any sort of military operation to release the hostages, saying the relevant militant groups have been contacted and diplomatic efforts are underway in coordination with NATO, the Iraqi government and the United States.