Turkey does not evacuate Baghdad embassy as ISIL moves on capital

A member of the Iraqi security forces mans a checkpoint in the capital Baghdad on June 12, as jihadists and anti-government fighters have spearheaded a major offensive that overrun all of Nineveh province. AFP Photo

As jihadist militants approach ever closer to the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Turkey has still yet to decide to evacuate its embassy in the city, an official has told Hürriyet Daily News, adding that the embassy staff were currently working to remove all Turkish nationals from Iraq.

Ministers will hold a coordination meeting on June 13 regarding efforts to evacuate Turks in neighboring Iraq, while the Turkish Airlines is set to increase its number of flights to Iraq.

The Foreign Ministry will issue an upgraded statement later today to inform Turkish nationals in Iraq about the safest airports and border gates that they can use.

A ministry statement issued late on June 12 recommended that Turkish citizens leave Iraq via the best and safest route, taking into account the deterioration of security conditions in the country. It suggested that the safest airports that can be used are Baghdad, Basra, Najaf, Suleimaniye and Arbil. Those who want to leave Iraq via land may enter Turkey through the Habur border gate, it added.

Militants of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have abducted 49 Turkish citizens, including thee consul general in Mosul and several members of the Turkish special forces. The Turkish government has been heavily criticized for not having evacuated the consulate compound before the ISIL militants raided it.

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