Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced Friday that Ankara began taking measures to reopen its consulates in Mosul and Basra that have remained shut for years due to security threats.
Turkey closed its consulate in Mosul in 2014, shortly after ISIS advanced on the city and stormed the mission on June 11 of that year, kidnapping 48 people including the Turkish consul.
Among the captives were also employees at the consulate and their family members, including three children, as well as members from the Turkish special operations force.
The captives were released after three months.
Later, the former Turkish consul accused Ankara of handing him over, along with the consulate staff, to ISIS.
As for the Turkish consulate in Basra, the Iraqi foreign ministry announced on January 21 that it had struck an agreement with Turkey to reopen it following its closure in 2014 due to security threats.
In April, Turkey’s ambassador to Baghdad Fatih Yıldız said that the Basra consulate will reopen soon. In remarks to Turkish media, he said that Turkey is a huge country and can’t be restricted to specific parts of Iraq.
Turkey has a border with southern Iraq, and has sent humanitarian aid to provinces in central Iraq, he said.
He added that the Turkish consulate building in Basra is still there and that talks must be held with local figures and tribal leaders before reactivating the diplomatic mission.