Turkey leader does not want 'tattered and divided' Iraq

A Turkish flag on a roof top at Taksim square in Istanbul, Turkey. (File) (Uriel Sinai, Getty Images)
A Turkish flag on a roof top at Taksim square in Istanbul, Turkey. (File) (Uriel Sinai, Getty Images)
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Updated: 6/30 12:25 pm

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's deputy prime minister says his country does not want to see a "tattered and divided" Iraq.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc's comments Monday came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the establishment of an independent Kurdistan in Iraq, following territorial gains by a jihadi group in Iraq.

Arinc voiced support for Iraq's territorial integrity and said "foreign forces" should leave the country.

Turkey has built close trade ties with the Iraq's Kurdish regional government, recently becoming a conduit for Iraqi Kurdish oil shipments. But Turkey fears that an independent Kurdistan in Iraq would inspire its own Kurdish population.

Arinc said 80 Turkish hostages seized June 11 by the jihadis in Mosul were well and hoped they would be released during the month of Ramadan.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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