Turkey urges citizens to leave Iraq, excluding Kurdistan region: Foreign Ministry

Turkey on Dec. 9 called on its citizens to leave all areas of Iraq, excluding the northern autonomous Kurdish region, due to increased security risks, the foreign ministry said.
The Foreign Ministry warned against non-essential travel to several provinces in Iraq including Basra, Najaf, Anbar and Kirkuk and said: "We strongly advise those whose stay is not essential to leave those provinces as soon as possible."

"The scope of our travel warning to Iraq has expanded to include all provinces except for Dohuk, Erbil and Sulaimaniya," all of which are in the northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website, AFP reported.

Ankara cited increasing threats targeting Turkish companies recently, as well as declarations encouraging violence, abduction and attacks.
The Foreign Ministry also called on citizens living in the Kurdish region to stay away from areas where operations are taking place against the Islamic State (IS) and to obey warnings and guidance from the Kurdish administration.

The warning comes amid growing strains between Ankara and the central Baghdad government over the deployment by Turkey of up to 300 soldiers to train local Iraqi forces to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from IS jihadists.