Turkey Hostage Crisis Could Limit U.S. Options in Iraq

Turkey Hostage Crisis Could Limit U.S. Options in Iraq

The fall of Mosul to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), suddenly put Iraq back on the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda. Although stories of fleeing Iraqi troops and stolen U.S.-supplied Humvees got most of the attention in U.S. media, the hostage-taking of 49 Turkish citizens, including special forces, diplomats and children, from the Turkish consulate in Mosul, as well as 31 other Turks from elsewhere in northern Iraq, could limit U.S. options in responding to the growing chaos in Iraq.

Turkey imposed a media blackout on discussion of the hostages, prompting criticism from some journalists but preventing anything approaching the type of media firestorm that unfolded in the United States over the 2012 killing of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Nevertheless, the success of ISIS in taking so many hostages is seen as a “big failure on the part of the Turkish foreign policy establishment,” according to Sinan Ulgen of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Securing their safe return has become a priority for the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Hours before the kidnapping, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu posted a message on Twitter saying that Turkey was taking all necessary security precautions at the consulate in Mosul.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.