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Turkey evacuates consulate in Iraq's Basra

June 17, 2014 7:22 P.M. (Updated: June 17, 2014 7:22 P.M.)
ANKARA (AFP) - Turkey said it evacuated its consulate in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Tuesday for security reasons, a week after Islamist militants attacked its mission in Mosul and kidnapped several dozen Turks.

"In the context of the situation in Iraq, and because of the heightened security risk in the Basra region, our consulate general was evacuated today Tuesday," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Twitter.

He said the diplomatic staff were taken to neighboring Kuwait.

Fighters from the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) kidnapped 49 Turks including diplomats and children from the Turkish consulate in Mosul on Wednesday as they captured swathes of northern Iraq.

ISIL, which Turkey included in its list of terrorist organizations in early June, also seized 31 Turkish truck drivers earlier last week.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier "intense efforts" were being made to secure the release of the abducted citizens while accusing the Iraqi government of failing to protect the mission in Mosul.

But a Turkish court on Tuesday imposed a blackout on media coverage of the kidnappings "for the security of Turkish citizens".
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