Mosul hostage ambassador to join Turkey’s opposition CHP: Report
ANKARAAmbassador Öztürk Yılmaz, Turkey’s former consul general to Mosul who was among 49 hostages held by extremist militants in Iraq for 101 days, has resigned from Foreign Ministry to run in the Nov. 1 snap parliamentary elections as a candidate lawmaker for the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Turkish media reports said.
Yılmaz was appointed as Turkey’s ambassador to Tajikistan in July.
In 2014, Turkey’s Mosul consulate personnel were taken hostage by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after the jihadist militants seized control of Mosul, Iraq’s third largest city.
The hostages were freed in September following a secret operation conducted by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
The ISIL raid reportedly came as a surprise, as consular staff were initially told by the advancing jihadists that they did not have any problem with the Turkish presence in the city. However, after the consulate started to receive more negative messages from ISIL, consular staff realized that no possibility remained for a safe evacuation with support from Turkey, according to sources.
Around 500 to 1,000 ISIL militants suddenly seized the consulate on June 11, using a Turkmen translator to demand that they exit the compound, Commercial Attaché Mehmet Argüç told the Hürriyet Daily News in 2014.
Argüç also expressed disappointment that the consulate was not evacuated earlier. “I wish that at least the families had left the consulate when the initial news reports of the ISIL attacks on Mosul emerged,” he said.