Duvar English

Turkey is set to reopen its Mosul Consulate later this year, the country’s Mosul Consul General Mehmet Küçüksakallı said about the consulate in the northern Iraqi city that has been out of operation since 2014 when ISIS militants stormed the consulate and took dozens of employees hostage.

The city was liberated from ISIS in 2017 by Iraqi forces after a protracted battle that had begun in October of the previous year, but much of the country’s once-second largest city was laid to waste while half a million residents were forced to flee the area.

ISIS militants stormed Turkish Consulate in Mosul on June 11, 2014, holding 49 consulate personnel and their families captive, including then-Consul General Öztürk Yılmaz. The hostages were safely returned to Turkey after 101 days of captivity.

In an interview with the state-run Anadolu Agency, Küçüksakallı said that ISIS left the city in ruins and destroyed a great number of Ottoman-era historic relics in the city. He added that Turkey was prepared to contribute to the redevelopment of the areas in Iraq harmed by ISIS.

“Iraq and Turkey are two neighboring countries, two independent friendly states, with a friendship and working relationship dating back years,” he said, adding that the countries “need to strengthen and deepen these relationships.”

“As such, the presidents and minister of each countries are continuing to communicate. As the Mosul Consulate [of Turkey], we have started to contribute on the field to the development of these relationships,” Küçüksakallı said.

“I have announced that our country will always be on Mosul’s side, Turkish companies are ready to build the Mosul Airport, and within 2020 the consulate will be open again and start to provide visa services. At the moment, I am encouraging our businessmen to take on important infrastructure projects in Mosul,” the consul general added.

According to Küçüksakallı, a Turkish firm recently took on a $50 million project from the Iraqi government geared towards repairing the city’s sewer system. He said that the company, as of May of this year, will begin work on the project in Mosul with 50 Turkish engineers and technicians.