Thursday, June 12, 2014

Turkey Updates ( June 12 , 2014 ) .......Turkey's hubris and arrogance that led to involvement in the Syria War ( and the training funding , providing safe harbor and weapons to Islamists has blown up in Turkish faces !



Turkey not working on new mandate for military action in Iraq: Minister

ANKARA - Reuters

Bekir Bozdağ during a speech at Parliament. AA Photo
Bekir Bozdağ during a speech at Parliament. AA Photo
The Turkish government is not working on any new mandate to authorize a cross-border military operation into Iraq, where militants are holding 80 Turkish nationals hostage, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on June 12. 

"The issue of whether the existing mandate is sufficient [for a military operation] or a new mandate is required is among the issues being discussed. But right now there is no work being conducted for a new mandate," Bozdağ told reporters in Ankara. 

A parliamentary mandate allowing Turkey to conduct cross-border military operations in Iraq expires in October. 

The text of the current mandate refers to the PKK, but it also uses a more general term in another clause, defining the target of possible operations as "terrorist attacks and threats against Turkey" from "northern Iraq and its neighboring areas." 

The Turkish Parliament authoritized the government on Oct. 10, 2013, giving it a 12-month mandate for foreign mission. However, the government has yet to transfer this authorization to the army.

US may send in drones to Iraq to battle jihadists

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse

An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded on June 8 by the ISIL allegedly shows the militants driving in vehicles near the central Iraqi city of Tikrit. AFP Photo / HO / ISIL
An image grab taken from a propaganda video uploaded on June 8 by the ISIL allegedly shows the militants driving in vehicles near the central Iraqi city of Tikrit. AFP Photo / HO / ISIL
Washington vowed June 12 to boost aid to Iraq and is mulling drone strikes amid fears Iraqi forces are crumbling in face of militants increasingly emboldened since the U.S. withdrawal. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhilei called for the "safe and immediate" return of 49 Turkish citizens kidnapped from the consulate in Mosul.

During a call with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Biden said "the United States is prepared to support Turkey's efforts to bring about the safe return of its citizens." 

Iraqi officials have already privately asked the U.S. to consider sending in drones to root out jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who in a lightning offensive have seized a swathe of the north.

The request has been turned down in the past, but Washington is now weighing several possibilities for more military assistance to Baghdad, including drone strikes, a U.S. official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Resorting to such aircraft - which remain highly controversial in Afghanistan and Pakistan - would mark a dramatic shift in the U.S. engagement in Iraq, after the last American troops pulled out inlate 2011.

"The United States has been fast to provide necessary support for the people and government of Iraq," National Security Advisor Susan Rice told a Washington think-tank June 11. "We are working together to roll back aggression and counter the threat" posed by ISIL to Iraq and the region, Rice said.

But she insisted the U.S. "must do more to strengthen our partners' capacity to defeat the terrorist threat on their home turf by providing them the necessary training, equipment and support." State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki stressed there were no current plans to send U.S. troops back to Iraq, where around 4,500 Americans died in the eight-year conflict.

She also denied the offensive, in which the militants seized northern Mosul and then Tikrit, had caught Washington by surprise or marked a failure of U.S. policy in the country it invaded in 2003.

U.S. officials also said they would try, working with the international community, to help an estimated 500,000 people who have fled their homes in Mosul.

ISIL calls for 'marching' to Baghdad
ISIL's spokesman called on the militants to march to Baghdad, slamming Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for being incompetent.

Amid reports that the Iraqi army had simply fled Mosul in face of the offensive, security expert Bruce Riedel told AFP "there's plenty of room for finger-pointing for the debacle in Iraq."

"Let's not forget the disastrous decision to start the war in 2003 as the place to begin finger-pointing," the senior fellow at the Brookings Institution said. The Pentagon needed to make a fundamental assessment of the difficulties facing the Iraqi military, he said.

"If it's a problem that the Iraqi military is broken at its core, then there's no point in sending more Humvees and Apaches," Riedel added.

"It's a point of how do we minimize our losses and live with what might be rapidly be developing as a de-facto partition of Iraq between a Sunni extremist state and a Shiite state."  

Consulate worker says Turkish hostages in good health

İpek YezdaniMOSUL

This file photo taken on Oct. 31, 2009, shows Turkey's consulate in Mosul.
This file photo taken on Oct. 31, 2009, shows Turkey's consulate in Mosul.
The 49 members of Turkey’s Mosul Consulate, who were taken hostage by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are in good health, an Iraqi colleague told daily Hürriyet on June 12.

“The hostages were put into vehicles belonging to the consulate and were taken to the al-Danadan neighborhood before being taken to another area [of the city]. They are in good health. They are expecting to be released soon,” said the Iraqi employee of Turkmen origin who was able to contact his colleagues after they were taken hostage. 

The man, who was not at his workplace when the raid happened, said the ISIL militants seized the building after blowing up the governor’s house, which is located 20 meters from the consulate. 

“They blasted the house of the governor at around 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. [on June 11]. They then came to the consulate asking to open the doors. The security called me, telling that they were unable to understand what [the militants] were saying. At that moment [the militants] broke the door and entered inside the building,” he said.

“Those who were able to communicate with the militants told them that Turks were here to help,” he added.

The 49 hostages include Turkey’s Consul General Öztürk Yılmaz, several security officials as well as children of diplomats.

Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera Turkish claimed that security officials let ISIL members enter the building after they threatened to set off explosives.

The building of the Turkish Consulate in Mosul had been used as the office of the Iraqi defense minister under the Saddam regime. Turkey rented the building from the Iraqi authorities in 2007 after deciding to reopen its diplomatic mission in the city.

Top US diplomat calls for ‘immediate release’ of Turkish hostages on official visit to Ankara


US Ambassador Samantha Powers was in talks in Ankara as ISIL militants took 49 Turkish citizens hostage from Turkey's Mosul Consulate. AP Photo
US Ambassador Samantha Powers was in talks in Ankara as ISIL militants took 49 Turkish citizens hostage from Turkey's Mosul Consulate. AP Photo
A top U.S. diplomat, who is currently on an official visit to the Turkish capital Ankara, has joined calls demanding the “immediate release” of 49 Turkish citizens kidnapped from a consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

“The United States strongly condemns recent attacks by the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in the city of Mosul, Iraq, which have broad security implications for the country. In particular, we condemn the kidnappings of Iraqi citizens and Turkish Consulate personnel, their family members and other Turkish citizens residing in Mosul, and join the Governments of Turkey and Iraq, as well as the international community, in calling for their immediate release,” by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said in a written statement released on June 12.

The statement was released ahead of her talks with Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which were scheduled to take place later on June 12 in Ankara.

Turkey has pledged to retaliate if the hostages are harmed, saying ISIL kidnapped 49 of its citizens at the consulate and had taken them to another part of Mosul.

“ISIL’s appalling violence has led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. It is a clear security threat to Iraq and a growing threat to the region. It seeks to turn back the clock on the progress Iraq has made, and it will cause unimaginable suffering. We urge Iraqis from all communities to work in solidarity against ISIL and any other militant groups that would seek to undermine Iraq’s future peace and stability,” Power also said.

Her statement came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, offering assistance for the safe return of Turkish citizes taken hostage in Mosul. 

“We reiterate our support for the Iraqi people and the Government of Iraq in their fight against terrorism. The United States will continue working with the people of Iraq, regional partners, and international organizations to ensure that the resources and strategies needed to combat ISIL and other emerging terrorist groups are in place so that Iraqis can achieve the peace, democracy and economic prosperity that is their due,” Powers added.

Today's Zaman......

Davutoğlu says failed to evacuate diplomats due to intense fighting

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (Photo: Today's Zaman)
June 11, 2014, Wednesday/ 19:25:46/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM WITH WIRES / ISTANBUL
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said Ankara was unable to evacuate the Turkish consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul due to intense fighting although it sent an order to free the diplomatic mission now under the invasion of radical militants. 

Militants linked to the al Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), seized 48 Turks from the Turkish consulate in Mosul on Wednesday, including the consul-general, three children and several members of Turkey's special forces.

The group was taken from the consulate building to a militant base. Turkish authorities had contacted militant groups and confirmed all were unharmed, the source said.

Davutoğlu said the order of evacuation was sent "two or three days ago" but that the diplomats could not be evacuated due to intense fighting outside the city. He said all state resources are mobilized to deal with the issue and that he hopes the Turkish citizens will be able to return Turkey safely. He also vowed that Turkey will retaliate in the strongest way in case of "any harm to our citizens." He said "no one should test Turkey's resolve."

Sunni insurgents from the al Qaeda splinter group seized Mosul on Tuesday in a show of strength against Iraq's Shi'ite-led government.

"Certain militant groups in Mosul have been directly contacted to ensure the safety of diplomatic staff," a Turkish government source said.

The seizure of the consulate means at least 76 Turks are now being held by militants in Mosul. It comes a day after 28 Turkish truck drivers were abducted by ISIL militants while they were delivering diesel to a power plant in the city.

Turkey has close trade and political links with the Kurdish-controlled area to the north of Mosul that has not, for the moment at least, been targeted by ISIL. It sees a particular role in protecting the interests of the Turkmen ethnic minority in that area.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held an emergency meeting with the Undersecretary of Turkey's National Intelligence Agency (MİT) and Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay to discuss the developments, officials said.

Davutoğlu, who had been due to deliver a speech at a United Nations counter-terrorism meeting in New York, cut short his visit and is returning to Turkey.

Davutoğlu had said on his Twitter account late on Tuesday, after the truck drivers were taken, that the necessary measures had been taken for the safety of the Turkish consulate in Mosul.

Hostages taken by ISIS to hold off Turkish attacks as Baghdad comes within view  ?
Kurdish Peshmarga forces are filling a vacuum left by fleeing Iraqi troops near Kirkuk, writes Fazel Hawramy in Irbil.
A Peshmarga fighter who has been stationed at the Kaywan Iraqi army base, outside Kirkuk, since yesterday confirmed to the Guardian that Kurds hold the area.
He said: "Kaywan is full of Peshmarga forces but everything has already been taken. There is nothing left. The Iraqi army abandoned the base yesterday morning and the Peshmarga arrived in the evening and during that time everything was taken. We are protecting the base, with around 1,000 Peshmarga but there is nothing left."
A senior Peshmrga source at Hay Tahrir checkpoint near Gop Jalil village said Kurds have not fought with Isis on Mosul-Irbil road. He said: "There have been no clashes between Isis and Branch 4 of Peshmarga forces that are stationed on this front. When the Iraqi army abandoned its positions on Tuesday some of our forces had to withdraw but we did not clash with Isis militants. We have not received any orders from [Kurdish government] to engage Isis and no Peshmargas has been injured or died."
He added: "Refugees are still crossing checkpoints towards Duhok and Irbil but the numbers have decreased since yesterday."
On the desertion of Iraqi soldiers the source said the Peshmarga forces were aware that on Tuesday large numbers of Iraqi soldiers deserted their positions and crossed the KRG controlled checkpoints in civilian clothes and went towards Kirkuk to go back to their own cities across Iraq. 

Kurdish Peshmerga forces take control of Toz Khormato.
Kurdish Peshmerga forces take control of Toz Khormato. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Britain's deputy prime minister Nick Clegg says intervening in Iraq now would only compound previous mistakes.
Speaking on LBC radio he was asked whether British troops should return to Iraq. He replied: "No I don't think we should go back into Iraq. 
Clegg said Syria has incubated the crisis in Iraq with its knock-on effect. Clegg questions legality of Iraq invasion but won't go so far to say it was illegal. The only way this is going to subside is if violence in Syria eases, he said. 
Going into Iraq now would be compounding initial mistake, he added. 

Isis fighters move closer to Baghdad

Jihadists have pushed to within 56 miles of Baghdad, according to AFP.
Fighters from Isis seized the town of Dhuluiyah, a municipal councillor, a police colonel and witnesses told AFP by telephone.
The nearby Muatassam area has also fallen to militants, the municipal council member and witnesses said.
Isis spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani promised the group would push on to Baghdad and Karbala, a city southwest of the capital that is one of the holiest sites for Shia Muslims, in a statement carried by jihadists websites.
With militants closing in, Iraq's parliament was to meet for an emergency session Thursday to consider a request from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the president's office for it to declare a state of emergency.
Doing so requires a two-thirds vote, making it unlikely to pass the sharply divided parliament, which has produced little significant legislation in years and is often poorly attended.
Army Staff Lieutenant General Sabah al-Fatlawi said soldiers and "elite forces" backed by air strikes defeated a "fierce attack by Isis members," and that troops were regrouping to counter attack.
Samarra is mainly Sunni Arab but is home to a shrine revered by the country's Shiite majority, a site whose bombing by al-Qaida-linked militants in 2006 sparked a Shia-Sunni conflict that killed tens of thousands.
"There is panic among residents," who are buying up goods and forming long queues at petrol stations, Thair Mohammed told AFP from the city.
A resident of Dhuluiyah, Abu Abdullah, said the situation there was calm on Thursday, but people were keeping to their houses.
He said he heard air strikes the night before.

Iraq’s collapse has been driven by three things, according to the New Yorker's Dexter Filkins.
  1. The war in SyriaThe border between the two countries—three hundred miles long, most of it an empty stretch of desert—has been effectively erased, with Isis and Nusra working both sides. As the moderates in Syria have been pushed aside, so too have their comrades in Iraq.
  2. The policies of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Maliki is a militant sectarian to the core, and he had been fighting on behalf of Iraq’s long-suppressed Shia majority for years before the Americans arrived, in 2003 ... In the two and a half years since the Americans’ departure, Maliki has centralized power within his own circle, cut the Sunnis out of political power, and unleashed a wave of arrests and repression. Maliki’s march to authoritarian rule has fueled the re-emergence of the Sunni insurgency directly. With nowhere else to go, Iraq’s Sunnis are turning, once again, to the extremists to protect them.
  3. The US left before they replaced the state they crushed. For many months, the Obama and Maliki governments talked about keeping a residual force of American troops in Iraq, who would act largely to train Iraq’s Army and to provide intelligence against Sunni insurgents. (They would almost certainly have been barred from fighting.) Those were important reasons to stay, but the most important went largely unstated: it was to continue to act as a restraint on Maliki’s sectarian impulses, at least until the Iraqi political system was strong enough to contain him on its own. The negotiations between Obama and Maliki fell apart, in no small measure because of a lack of engagement by the White House. Today, many Iraqis, including some close to Maliki, say that a small force of American soldiers—working in non-combat roles—would have provided a crucial stabilizing factor that is now missing from Iraq. Sami al-Askari, a Maliki confidant, told me for my article this spring, “If you had a few hundred here, not even a few thousand, they would be co-operating with you, and they would become your partners.” President Obama wanted the Americans to come home, and Maliki didn’t particularly want them to stay.

A map of Iraq showing areas under ISIS control as of June 12 (AEDT)

Where ISIS Is Gaining Control in Iraq and Syria
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — an organization once part of Al Qaeda — has effectively gained control of large swaths of Iraq and Syria over the past year.