Ankara, Sep 28 () - A Turkish official denied reports that said Turkish workers who were kidnapped by gunmen in Baghdad earlier in September were released, while underlining that intense efforts to this aim have been underway.
“Both officials at the Foreign Ministry headquarters and at the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad have been exerting efforts in coordination with Iraqi officials for their release,” the same official, speaking under customary condition of anonymity, told Hürriyet Daily News on Sept. 28, declining to further elaborate.
Reports of release stemmed from a YouTube video on a militant group’s account, leading to assumptions that the group released 16 captives in addition to the two workers who were released mid-September.
While working on a football stadium project, 18 employees of major Turkish construction firm Nurol İnşaat were kidnapped on Sept. 2 in the Sadr City area of north Baghdad.
In the following days, an unknown militant group took responsibility for the kidnappings in a video posted online and issued a list of demands Ankara must fulfill.
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.