Turkey has promised to retaliate if any of its citizens are harmed in Iraq, after 49 members of the Turkish consulate in Mosul were abducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
If our citizens are harmed in any way, they will be the subject of harsh reprisals.
The Turkish government said on Wednesday that diplomats, staff, security guards and three children were held by ISIL fighters and efforts were being made to ensure their release.
It brings to 80 the number of Turkish citizens being held by ISIL. On Tuesday, the group abducted 31 Turkish lorry drivers as it took control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.
“ISIL members managed to kidnap the Turkish consul,” an unnamed Iraqi police colonel told the AFP news agency, adding that an ISIL fighter had told him those held were “safe” and would be moved to a “safer place”.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, held an emergency meeting with security and military officers to discuss the response to the raid, Turkish media reported.
ISIL is the most powerful armed group in Iraq and Syria, and a major force in the war against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Turkish forces have targeted ISIL in Syria, and warned the group against attacking a shrine in the northern province of Aleppo that is under Turkish jurisdiction.