Saturday, 20 September 2014

ISIL releases all 49 Turkish hostages

Turkey's consul general Öztürk Yılmaz talks to family members following his release, watched by PM Davutoğlu

Turkey woke up to the news that all 49 hostages seized by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces on 11 June 2014 had been freed. Among them were Öztürk Yılmaz, Turkey's consul general in Mosul, northern Iraq, his diplomatic staff, children and special forces police, who were all taken after ISIL had captured the city from Iraqi forces and stormed the Turkish consulate.

The hostages arrived in Turkey via Syria at 5am this morning and were said to all be in good health following their 101 days in captivity. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu cut his trip to Azerbaijan short to fly to Şanlıurfa, by the Syrian border in southeast Turkey, to meet with the freed hostages.

Following the release of the hostages, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a written statement praising the Turkish Prime Minister and Turkey’s intelligence service MİT for their successful covert operation.

“Our Consul General in Mosul, his family and Turkish citizens at the consulate who had been abducted have been freed in a successful operation…I thank the Prime Minister and his colleagues for this carefully planned, detailed and secret operation, which continued all night and was successfully completed early in the morning.”

“Our National Intelligence Agency [MİT] has followed the issue with patience and dedication, and finally performed a successful rescue operation,” Erdoğan’s statement added.

Officials have said there were no military clashes with ISIL, nor has any ransom been paid. They said negotiations with the local Iraqi authorities had created the opportunity to free the hostages. Few other details have yet been released.
ISIL forces in Iraq

Turkey had publicly resisted joining a coalition to defeat ISIL, citing its 49 kidnapped citizens. Given the delicate situation, the US had been careful not to push Turkey too hard as it tried to free the hostages.

In recent weeks, the extremist group has beheaded two American journalists and a British aid worker, who were all seized while they worked in Syria. ISIL said the killings were “payback” for the airstrikes that Washington has launched against them in Iraq.

No comments:

Post a Comment