Two of 18 kidnapped Turkish workers freed in Iraq

Two of 18 kidnapped Turkish workers freed in Iraq

BASRA – Agence Frence-Presse
Two of 18 kidnapped Turkish workers freed in Iraq

AFP photo

Two of 18 Turkish workers kidnapped by gunmen in Baghdad this month have been freed in the southern city of Basra, Turkish and Iraqi officials said on Sept. 16.

The men were among 18 employees of major Turkish construction firm Nurol Insaat kidnapped on September 2 in the Sadr City area of north Baghdad, where they were working on a football stadium project.

The Turkish ambassador to Iraq, Faruk Kaymakçı, said that two workers had been released and were found near a Turkish company’s premises in Basra.

“They are in good health,” he told AFP. “They said the other 16 were also in good health as of yesterday [Sept. 15].”   

The Basra police issued a statement saying that the two men were found late on Sept. 15, while the Turkish foreign ministry spokesman also confirmed their release.

“Two of our 18 fellow citizen abducted in Baghdad have been released. The two released workers are Necdet Yılmaz and Ercan Özpilavcı,” spokesman Tanju Bilgiç told the Dogan news agency.

An unknown militant group claimed the kidnappings in a video posted online last week and issued a list of demands it said Ankara must fulfil for them to be freed.

Dozens of Turks have been kidnapped but later released in Iraq in the past 18 months by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group, which overran large parts of the country last year.

But Sadr City, where the 18 Turks were kidnapped, is a stronghold of Shiite paramilitary forces opposed to the jihadists.