Hostage crisis enters second month

Hostage crisis enters second month

Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
Hostage crisis enters second month

Foreign Minister Davutoğlu said the government is continuing to work for the release of hostages.

Some 49 Turkish consulate staff members in Iraq are entering their second month in captivity with uncertainty surrounding their fate despite the release of Turkish truck drivers last week.

The situation of the diplomats and others still held captive in Mosul poses uncertainty with the potential to turn into a crisis for Turkey as the circumstances which paved the way for the release of Turkish truck drivers differ drastically from the current situation.

Thirty-two Turkish drivers were taken hostage by members of a local tribe which obeys the Islamic State (IS, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL), but not the Islamist group itself, a senior Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News, noting that their release could not be considered a harbinger of the release of the other Turkish nationals.

Turkey’s Mosul consulate personnel were taken hostage by ISIL militants, which include local elements and foreign jihadists; as such, the efforts to secure their release differ with regards to processes, the diplomat said.

The officials dismissed claims that there were any negotiations made with ISIL members over the consular staff members.

Moreover, the militants have not indicated any express demand for their release, raising suspicions that they are being kept as “human shields,” a view that has not been denied by Turkish officials.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Haluk Koç recently voiced similar worries in Parliament, saying ISIL militants had made the move “to take the Turkish state hostage.”

Meanwhile, ISIL provided a doctor from Mosul state hospital for the treatment of a 6-month-old baby of a Turkish consulate member kidnapped by the militants, a Turkish official told the Daily News, refuting news reports which suggested that the doctor was actually sent from Turkey.