UPDATE – Turkey to reopen its Basra and Mosul consulates in Iraq


By Meltem Bulur, Zuhal Demirci, Tugcenur Yilmaz and Fatih Hafiz Mehmet

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey will reopen its consulates in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Basra, the foreign minister announced Thursday.

"We are reopening our Basra and Mosul consulates that we previously had to close due to security reasons," Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters after meeting with Iraqi President Barham Salih in the capital Baghdad.

Upon a question about Turkey's operations against the terrorist organization PKK, Cavusoglu said that Turkey would continue to eliminate terrorists.

"In the fight against terror, Turkey will continue to destroy terrorists wherever they are under the international law.

"This fight isn't a violation of Iraq's territorial integrity nor it is an attack. It's our right arising from the international law," Cavusoglu said, adding that Turkey will fight against terror together with the Iraqi government after it is formed.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

Separately ,Cavusoglu said that Iraq and Turkey are not only two neighbors, but are sister countries, so that both countries should be in solidarity and cooperation.

Also commenting on the missing Saudi journalist case, Cavusoglu said Turkey wants to cooperate with Riyadh, "but Saudi Arabia must also be in cooperation with us as well".

He added that Turkey will share the facts resulting from the investigation carried out by the country's police and intelligence to the world once it is finished.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since Oct. 2, when he visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, amid speculation that he was killed by Saudi authorities.

Saudi authorities have yet to give a clear explanation on the fate of Khashoggi as several countries — particularly Turkey, the U.S. and the UK — press for clarification.

According to his fiancée Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi first arrived at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Sept. 28. After being told his documents would be ready in a week, Khashoggi went to London and returned to Istanbul on Oct. 1.

Khashoggi called the consulate and was told "that documents are being prepared" and he could come to the consulate. He went to the diplomatic building on Oct. 2 with Cengiz but was not seen after entering it.

On the same day, 15 Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while Khashoggi was also inside, police sources said.