|Turkey's consul general Öztürk Yılmaz talks to family members following his release, watched by PM Davutoğlu|
The hostages arrived in
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 Syria Azerbaijan short to fly to Şanlıurfa, by the
Syrian border in southeast ,
to meet with the freed hostages. Turkey
Following the release of the hostages, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a written statement praising the Turkish Prime Minister and
intelligence service MİT for their successful covert operation. Turkey
“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.
In recent weeks, the extremist group has beheaded two American journalists and a British aid worker, who were all seized while they worked in
said the killings were “payback” for the airstrikes that Syria Washington
has launched against them in . Iraq