Politics

Biden: US willing to help return Turkish diplomats

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden is condemning the actions of al-Qaida-inspired militants who kidnapped Turkish diplomats in Iraq. He says the United States is willing to support Turkish efforts to free the diplomats.

The White House says Biden spoke Wednesday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn). Biden told the Turkish leader that the U.S. supports efforts by Iraqi and Kurdish forces to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militant group.

The call comes as the militants are pressing closer to Baghdad. The group's fighters seized the city of Tikrit on Wednesday. A day earlier they took control of much Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, and stormed Turkey's consulate there. The White House says Turkey's consul general, relatives and other Turkish personnel were kidnapped in Mosul.