Turkey's foreign minister says the country will retaliate if Turkish nationals abducted by jihadist militants in Iraq are harmed.
"Any harm to our citizens and staff will not be left unanswered. Nobody should test Turkey's strength. Right now we're engaged in calm crisis management, considering our citizens' security. This should not be misunderstood," Ahmet Davutoglu said in New York on Wednesday.
Davutoglu’s remarks came after militants of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) kidnapped 80 Turkish nationals in northern Iraq.
Turkish special forces, diplomats, and children were among the abductees.
Meanwhile, NATO held an emergency meeting in the Belgian capital Brussels at Turkey’s request.
Earlier on Wednesday, ISIL militants captured 49 people from the Turkish consulate in the city of Mosul.
The militants are also holding 31 Turkish truck drivers captive at a power station in the Gyarah region of the city. The drivers were abducted as they were delivering diesel on Tuesday, officials said.
Early on Tuesday, the militants took control of Nineveh province and provincial capital Mosul, forcing “over 500,000 people in and around the city" to flee, according to Geneva-based International Organization for Migration.
The militants are reportedly launching attacks against the city of Kirkuk.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said that the country’s security forces would confront the terrorists, calling the seizure of Mosul, Iraq’s second city, a “conspiracy.”
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