Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier on the advance of islamist extremists in Iraq. Published online by Bild newspaper on 12 June 2014.
ISIS islamists are overrunning Iraq, how dangerous is this advance for this already unstable region?
The situation is alarming because the fighting threatens to plunge not only Iraq, but the whole region which has already been destabilised by the war in Syria, into further violence and chaos. The effects of the war in Syria are combining dangerously with Iraq’s internal problems. The ISIS terrorists have already wreaked a great deal of havoc in Syria and they have now overrun parts of Iraq’s Sunni north.
Turkey – a NATO country – is also at risk. Could this even lead to the mutual defence clause being invoked?
The NATO partners discussed the situation in Iraq in an emergency meeting on Wednesday evening. Our Turkish partners highlighted that they have not expressed any expectation for NATO to take action.
There are German soldiers at the border between Turkey and Syria. How great is danger of Germany being indirectly sucked into the conflict?
I see no such danger. Our soldiers are stationed hundreds of kilometres from the scene of the fighting in Iraq, and the German armed forces has a clear mandate: to defend Turkey from rocket attacks from Syria. Our soldiers will strictly adhere to this mandate.
Interview conducted by Rolf Kleine. Reproduced with the kind permission of Bild.