Gul praises government performance in saving Turks in Iraq

Wext: Monday, 13.September. @ 00:00:00 CEST


12. Sep. 2004 Turkey will consider offers of help from Kurdish leaders running northern Iraq for a safer trade with Iraq, says the turkish foreign minister

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has dismissed opposition criticism that the government has not been actively engaged in saving Turkish citizens kidnapped in Iraq.

"We have saved all the Turks who were declared to have been kidnapped. Information on those who were killed arrived only after they had been killed," Gul told reporters on his way to Estonia for an official visit.

A number of Turkish workers have been kidnapped in Iraq by militants and faced death threat for aiding U.S. forces. All but one, Murat Yuce, was later set free after their companies announced they had halted operation in Iraq. Yuce was executed last month for aiding U.S. forces. The kidnappers had not announced his abduction and only released a videotape showing his execution.

"If we heeded what the opposition says, Turkey would quit Iraq. This is unacceptable," Gul said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently announced that close to 30 Turkish nationals have been killed in Iraq.

The Foreign Ministry has drafted a series of measures for safer commerce with Iraq. Gul said some of these measures had been made public, while a number were kept confidential.

The leader of a Kurdish political party running part of northern Iraq, Jalal Talabani, proposed during a visit this week to Ankara providing escorts to Turkish trucks transporting goods into Iraq on the road to Baghdad, provided that they agree to change their route.

Gul said both Talabani and Nechirvan Barzani, a senior official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), who also visited Ankara this week, had come up with well-intentioned proposals and added that Turkey would consider them.

According to diplomatic sources, Talabani, who met with Gul on Wednesday, expressed sorrow for the attacks and kidnappings targeting Turkish drivers, whom he said were risking their lives for the well-being of the people of Iraq.

The foreign minister also said there were many Turks in Iraq and that there were those who were not affiliated with any state or private organization. He said he believed that the Iraqis were unhappy with the attacks and abductions of Turks as they know that Turkey was by the Iraqi people's side.

Source: Bako_Net

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