Turkish child saved from ISIL in Iraq with help of PM, intel agency

Turkish child saved from ISIL in Iraq with help of PM, intel agency

ANKARA
Turkish child saved from ISIL in Iraq with help of PM, intel agency

A Turkish child who had been taken to Iraq by his Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant father has been brought back to Turkey after extensive efforts by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and the National Intelligence Agency (MİT).

Seven-year-old Alparslan, who was taken to Baghdad from the northwestern province of Düzce by his father three years ago, arrived in Turkey and saw his mother for the first time in three years, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Dec. 22.

After being unable to see her son, Alparslan’s mother Mehtap Nur Kazancı penned a letter to ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Düzce lawmaker Ayşe Keşir asking for help.

Keşir then notified Yıldırım about the issue, who gave the necessary orders to the related institutions in order to determine the whereabouts of the child and bring him back to his homeland.

Yıldırım also brought the issue up during Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s visit to Turkey and joint efforts were launched in order for Alparslan and children in similar circumstances to be delivered to Ankara authorities.

The issue was discussed once again between the prime ministers of the two countries on the phone and an operation kicked off with Yıldırım’s initiative, the Iraqi government’s support and the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s efforts to save Alparslan.

Upon investigations, authorities determined Alparslan’s ISIL militant father had died while fighting among the jihadist group’s ranks in Iraq.

They also discovered the militant had married a woman in Baghdad and the woman had also died while fighting for ISIL in a separate incident.

MİT then determined the little boy’s name had been changed to “Yusuf” and he had been held in a camp that housed those who had fled from ISIL in Iraq.

After diplomatic initiatives between the two countries, the Iraqi government took Alparslan from the camp and placed him in an orphanage in Baghdad.

The operation that took four months reached its end when authorities determined there was no obstacle for Alparslan’s transfer to Ankara.

Yıldırım received the news while he was in Bangladesh and Alparslan’s family headed to Ankara from Düzce immediately upon hearing of the boy’s return.

Alparslan was brought to Ankara under the surveillance of the Iraqi embassy and Turkish Red Crescent officials. His mother Kazancı saw her son in the Esenboğa Airport for the first time in three years.

When the boy did not recognize his mother, Kazancı tried to persuade him she was his real mother in the presence of psychiatrists.

The mother and son later visited Yıldırım at the Çankaya Mansion with Keşir.

Turkey, ISIL, Iraq