US unlikely to launch military operation in Iraq: Turkish PM Erdoğan

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U.S. military intervention in Iraq is unlikely at the moment, as such a move could make Iraqi citizens even more vulnerable to attacks by Sunni rebels, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

“Taking into account the statements and stance of the U.S., they do not favor such an attack. Any military operation could lead to the killing of civilians since elements of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] are engaged with [Iraqi] people,” Erdoğan told reporters on June 19.

The prime minister said that the Iraqi military’s abandonment to leave some regions under the control of ISIL was “meaningful.”

The case has gone beyond an issue between the Iraqi military and elements of the ISIL, as the situation has turned into an “interdenominational civil war,” according to Erdoğan.

“We don’t approve of this. Our values do not include sectarian bigotry. One Muslim cannot kill another saying ‘Allahuekber,” he said.

Erdoğan also stated that a delegation assigned by himself held talks with Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials on June 18 over the security and release of Turkish citizens taken hostage by ISIL.

“My delegation was in northern Iraq. They had talks and then returned yesterday late at night. We are conducting different processes through different channels,” Erdoğan said, adding that any “sudden step” could cause problems for Turkish citizens in Iraq.

Media reports suggesting that 15 more Turkish citizens were kidnapped by ISIL militants have not been confirmed yet, Erdoğan also said, stressing that Ankara was “closely monitoring the situation.”

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