ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's defense minister on Saturday ruled out a Turkish military intervention against Islamic State fighters in Iraq, and said his country was not involved in U.S. airstrikes against the extremists near the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil.
Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz told reporters central Anatolian province of Sivas that his country had not provided "any support to the U.S. so far." He cited Turkey's responsibility toward 49 Turkish citizens taken hostage by the IS from the Turkish consulate in Mosul in June. The hostages include diplomatic staff, special forces police and children.
Due to this, Yilmaz said, "it is impossible for us to do anything different."
The deputy chairman of Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party, Mehmet Ali Sahin, said the hostages' "health and fate is important for us more than anything else," according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.
"We have serious concerns over the bombings, in case these people suffer from them," Anadolu quoted Sahin as saying late Friday.