Minister: Turkey 'not involved in US air strikes' in Iraq

Photo: Minister: Turkey 'not involved in US air strikes' in Iraq / Turkey

Turkish National Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz has said Turkey did not provide any support to the U.S. air strikes in Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) sites in northern Iraq, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"The U.S. is using all its resources to bomb ISIL sites that it sees as a threat to its interests," Yilmaz said in a speech in the eastern Turkish province of Sivas on August 9.

Reminding that ISIL still keeps 49 staff of Turkey's Mosul consulate as captives, Yilmaz added:"Therefore, because of our responsibility of them, it is not possible for us to do anything different to what we are currently doing. Those who say differently probably don't care about those 49 kidnapped people."

The Turkish nationals, including consulate staff and their families were captured by fighters linked to ISIL, in Mosul on June 11. The Turkish government has imposed a news blackout on the hostage situation, claiming that media reports could threaten the captives' lives.

A group of 32 Turkish truck drivers were freed from ISIL captivity last month, returning home to a media fanfare on July 3.

The U.S. has conducted two waves of air attacks on insurgent artillery positions near Arbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

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