Baku – Basra, Sep 16 () - Two of 18 Turkish workers kidnapped by gunmen in Baghdad this month have been freed in the southern city of Basra, Turkish Foreign Minister Spokesperson Tanju Kılıç announced, on Sept. 16.
Having made a statement in Baku during visit with FM Feridun Sinirlioğlu, Spokesperson Kılıç told Necdet Yılmaz and Ercan Özpilavcı were found near a Turkish company’s premises in Basra. “Our prayer is that the remaining workers would be released soon” added Kılıç.
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.
Provincial Council President of Security Commission Jabbar Al Saidi added, “They were released late on Sep. 15, near the newly-constructed Turkish Hospital in western Basra. Two workers are in good health. Inspections are launched to investigate how those workers have been brought here from Baghdad in 550-kiolmeter-distance to Basra, despite several control points on the route.”
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.