Turkey on Wednesday called on its citizens to leave all areas of Iraq, excluding Iraqi Kurdistan, due to increased security risks, the foreign ministry said.
“The scope of our travel warning to Iraq has expanded to include all provinces except for Dohuk, Arbil and Sulaymaniyah,” all of which are in the northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
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.”
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 Iraqi Kurdish region to stay away from areas where operations are taking place against the Islamic State group and to obey warnings and guidance from the Iraqi 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.