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Daily News Analysis

Release of ISIS-kidnapped Turkish diplomats shrouded in mystery

Crescent International

What kind of a deal did Turkey make with the takfiri terrorists to secure the release of its diplomats is unknown. For now, there are celebrations in Turkey but questions are being asked about Turkey's contact with the takfiris and what kind of support it is offering them. Turkey has supported groups fighting to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Asad in Syria.


Saturday September 20, 2014, 21:28 DST

The Turkish government has welcomed the release of its diplomats from the takfiri terrorists’ captivity amid rejoicing in the country but how the early morning release on September 20 came about is shrouded in mystery. The diplomats were welcomed by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and brought to Ankara in his personal plane. Davutoglu cut short his visit to Azerbaijan to welcome the diplomats who had spent three months in captivity since their capture from Turkey’s Consulate in Mosul on June 11 when the takfiris stormed the city.

A total of 49 people were released of whom 46 were Turks—diplomats and their children, and special forces soldiers. Three Iraqi employees of the consulate were also released who stayed back in their country. The release occurred hours after Turkey opened its border to thousands of Syrian Kurds fleeing advance of the takfiri terrorists who captured a number of Kurdish villages. According to villagers, the terrorists had beheaded 11 people and there were fears of more such atrocities.

Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu said there had been no special forces operation. Instead the country's intelligence agency, MIT had used their “own methods”, but refused to go into details. "After intense efforts that lasted days and weeks, in the early hours [of September 20] our citizens were handed over to us and we brought them back to our country,” Davutoglu said. Davutoglu’s admission that “our citizens were handed over to us” means there was some kind of a deal but what exactly is not clear. And who handed over the Turkish diplomats is also not clear.

Turkey has refused to join US plans for air strikes against the takfiri terrorists who have caused havoc in parts of Syria and Iraq. Hitherto Turkey had refused to provide the use of its air bases for US planes to fly from in operations against the takfiris. Observers believe this is unlikely to change even with the diplomats’ release. There are reports that Turkey has been involved in purchasing oil from the takfiris that have used such revenues to finance their operations. Such purchases have involved smuggling across the border.

The released diplomats revealed that they were kept in Mosul but moved around at least eight times because of fighting. The takfiris had threatened to kill the captives, in one instance holding a gun to the Turkish consul’s head to make a video statement threatening to kill him but he defied them. What deal the Turkish government made with the takfiris is unknown but it is clear that Turkey’s support for groups fighting against the Syrian government was a contributory factor in the safe return of its diplomats.The Turkish diplomats would surely have recognized some of their captors. Will they reveal their identities, is the million-dollar question.

A spokesman for the Iraqi military, Lieutenant-General Qassim al-Moussawi said that his government had no information about the release of the hostages and didn't know where they had been held or where they were released. Did the takfiris release the Turkish hostages following the US presentation of a resolution in the UN Security Council seeking international support for strikes against the takfiris? The resolution was presented by the US that currently serves as the Council president on Friday September 19. The Turkish diplomats’ release came within hours of tabling the resolution amid reports that the takfiris had started fleeing Mosul in unmarked cars to escape possible US air strikes.


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