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Turkey's blackout on Mosul hostage crisis

The opposition parties’ request to be informed about the developments in Mosul was turned down June 25, leaving the public in the dark about the hostage crisis.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses the audience at a meeting at his ruling Ak Party (AKP) headquarters in Ankara June 25, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3VNAY

Since Turkey’s 49 consulate staff and their family members were taken hostage in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on June 11, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has taken all measures to keep the public in the dark on the issue. The prime minister first warned the media on June 15 not to write or talk about the developments in Mosul. A Turkish court followed up on the warning the next day by imposing a gag order to all print, visual and Internet media. The government is now applying a similar gag order to opposition party members in parliament, denying their requests to be informed about the issue.

There was talk of convening a special session in parliament in the immediate aftermath of the hostage crisis. The government, however, argued that anything that could be revealed at that session could put the lives of 80 Turkish citizens — including 31 truck drivers besides the 49 from the consulate — at risk and the opposition complied at the outset. However, the opposition party members of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee decided they wanted to be kept informed of the “seizure of the consulate and all its staff members taken hostage” just as the special session on the floor of parliament was canceled.

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