TURKEY CONCERNED ABOUT SAFETY OF IRAQI TURKMENS

Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu (Image: AA)
Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu (Image: AA)

Ankara, 20 Sha’ban 1435/18 june 2014 (MINA) – Turkey’s foreign minister has voiced concerns over the attacks on Iraqi Turkmens in the Turkmen-majority city of Tal Afar as unrest is growing high in Iraq since militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have extended their reach across Iraq since June 10.

Turkey has begun sending humanitarian to Iraq’s violence-hit cities, particularly Turkmen-populated areas, Ahmet Davutoglu told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Iraqi forces backed by Turkmen vigilante groups reportedly regained control in some areas of Tal Afar following violent fighting with ISIL- led forces, according to a Turkmen tribal leader, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

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“We are following the situation in Iraq closely and holding talks with Iraqi Turkmen Front Leader Ershad Salihi, Kurdish officials in Erbil and the Baghdad government,” he said.

Davutoglu stated that Turkey’s official disaster authority AFAD began sending humanitarian aid, tents, food and medical supplies to the displaced in Iraq.

He added that he would leave for Jeddah on Wednesday to attend the foreign ministers summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to discuss the crisis in Iraq with his counterparts.

Meanwhile, Iraqi forces backed by Turkmen vigilante groups regained control in some areas of the Turkmen-majority city of Tal Afar following violent fighting with militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants, according to a Turkmen tribal leader.

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“Special forces backed by local police and Turkmen tribal fighters managed to expel ISIL militants from many regions in Tal Afar,” Haydar Ali Joulaq, leader of a Turkmen tribe in the city, told Anadolu Agency.

Five ISIL militants were killed, several others were wounded while others started to withdraw from the city, according to Joulaq.

“The Iraqi flag was hoisted on several police stations in the neighborhoods cleared of ISIL militants,” Joulaq added.

ISIL captured the Turkmen-majority city of Tal Afar on Monday and Iraqi Army forces withdrew from Tuz Khurmatu with no appointment of replacement Peshmerga forces (Kurdish fighters) made to defend the city while ISIL forces stopped short of two kilometers outside the city.

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Turkmen from Tuz Khurmatu in Northern Iraq have taken up arms on Tuesday to deter militants from ISIL attacking the city. (T/P09/E01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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