Remaining 16 Turkish hostages in Iraq freed: Turkey PM

Minister-Ahmet-DavutogluSixteen Turkish workers who had been kidnapped in Iraq nearly a month ago were freed Wednesday and are in good health, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

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.

“Our 16 workers have just been received by our Baghdad ambassador. I talked to some of them on the phone,” Davutoglu wrote on Twitter.

“Thankfully, they are in good health and are preparing to return (home) as soon as possible,” he wrote.

State-run Anatolia news agency said the hostages had been freed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, without giving further information on the circumstances of their release.

Two hostages had already been released on September 16 in Basra.

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

In June 2014, jihadists from the Islamic State group kidnapped 49 staff from Turkey’s consulate in Mosul after seizing control of the city.

They were all released unharmed in September 2014 after top-secret negotiations led by Turkey’s intelligence agency that reportedly resulted in the release of jihadist prisoners in Turkey in exchange for the embassy staff.

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