Turkey renews security warning for Iraq, advises citizens to leave country

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 11. REUTERS Photo

Turkey issued a fresh travel warning for Iraq on June 13 following recent developments that caused unrest to different parts of the country and recommended Turkish citizens to leave Iraq through safe routes.

“In the first phase, it is recommended that our citizens in Mosul, Kırkuk, Selahaddin, Diyala, Anbar and Baghdad should be on alert under any conditions and leave these provinces immediately or to avoid travelling to these regions,” the Foreign Ministry said in its security notification posted on the official website. The latest warning came nearly 12 hours after the first notification, which was later withdrawn because of concerns that it could cause misunderstandings. 

It also recommended to those who want to flee these regions to be careful and to use the most appropriate and safe routes given that security conditions may further deteriorate.

The ministry said the public opinion will be updated concerning security conditions and travel warnings in line with developments. It also said the ministry’s call center will continue to assist Turkish citizens.

THY readying for potential evacuation

In the meantime, Turkish Airlines (THY) is preparing for a massive evacuation of Turkish citizens currently in Iraq. It is planning to organize additional flights using its largest planes to Iraq to evacuate Turkish citizens. The estimated number of Turkish nationals in Iraq is 125,000, according to Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.

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