Consulate worker says Turkish hostages in good health

Consulate worker says Turkish hostages in good health

İpek Yezdani MOSUL
Consulate worker says Turkish hostages in good health

This file photo taken on Oct. 31, 2009, shows Turkey's consulate in Mosul.

The 49 members of Turkey’s Mosul Consulate, who were taken hostage by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are in good health, an Iraqi colleague told daily Hürriyet on June 12.

“The hostages were put into vehicles belonging to the consulate and were taken to the al-Danadan neighborhood before being taken to another area [of the city]. They are in good health. They are expecting to be released soon,” said the Iraqi employee of Turkmen origin who was able to contact his colleagues after they were taken hostage.

The man, who was not at his workplace when the raid happened, said the ISIL militants seized the building after blowing up the governor’s house, which is located 20 meters from the consulate.

“They blasted the house of the governor at around 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. [on June 11]. They then came to the consulate asking to open the doors. The security called me, telling that they were unable to understand what [the militants] were saying. At that moment [the militants] broke the door and entered inside the building,” he said.

“Those who were able to communicate with the militants told them that Turks were here to help,” he added.

The 49 hostages include Turkey’s Consul General Öztürk Yılmaz, several security officials as well as children of diplomats.

Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera Turkish claimed that security officials let ISIL members enter the building after they threatened to set off explosives.

The building of the Turkish Consulate in Mosul had been used as the office of the Iraqi defense minister under the Saddam regime. Turkey rented the building from the Iraqi authorities in 2007 after deciding to reopen its diplomatic mission in the city.