Turkey expects 'internal decision' by ISIL for release of Turkish hostages

Turkey expects 'internal decision' by ISIL for release of Turkish hostages

Turkey expects internal decision by ISIL for release of Turkish hostages

Turkey's consulate in Mosul, before the ISIL attack.

The al-Qaeda splinter group that abducted Turkish nationals in the Iraqi city of Mosul is waiting to receive instructions from other militants and then take a decision among themselves for the release of the hostages, Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru has said.

“They will take instructions from somewhere within the group [for the release decision]," Koru told reporters on June 14, adding that Turkey was “contacting the [militants] through various channels.”

“We are conducting several contacts on different platforms for their release,” he said.

“There is no reason [given for the abduction]. There has been no statement [from the militants],” Koru added.

He said there was "no negotiation process" between Turkey and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), dismissing media reports that ISIL has set some conditions for the release of the hostages.

Asked if the group had particularly targeted the Turkish consulate for any political reasons, Koru claimed that they intervened in the Turkish mission in Mosul as part of an attack throughout the city, “plundering” the compound as was done elsewhere. 

Although security measures had been taken for the consulate, “incidents developed unexpectedly," Koru said. "Local security forces left the city unexpectedly. Then we had difficulty for the evacuation of our consulate.”

Earlier, the number of staff in the consulate had been minimized due to the increasing security threat, he added.

“In the very first days of these incidents, we ordered an evacuation of our consulate,” Koru said, adding that the Turkish consulate responded the order saying the security in the compound was "satisfactory."

According to Koru, Mosul Consul General Öztürk Yıldırım told Ankara that every security measure had been taken and security conditions were "better than outside.  

However, the Iraqi security forces protecting the Turkish compound gave up “without notification to the Turkish authorities” and abandoned the city, leaving the consulate personnel alone, said Koru. As the Mosul airport was closed, it was not possible to transfer the consulate personnel on the day of the incident, he said.

On the day of the incident, the consulate had called Ankara to say that the compound was surrounded by hundreds of militants. The fighters demanded the emptying of the building within 10 minutes or they would interfere, Yıldırım said, according to Koru.

Considering the number of security personnel in the consulate, they did not confront the militants, and left the building as of 11:20 a.m. on June 11, he added.

Koru dismissed media reports that the hostages had been taken to Syria and said the consulate staff were being kept at the same place in Mosul. The 49 Turkish hostages are in good condition and did not face any maltreatment, and three women and two children of the local staff of the consulate were among the abducted, he added.