Turkey can’t confirm killing of hostages
ANKARA: The Turkish embassy in Baghdad is investigating a television report that two Turkish hostages have been killed in Iraq, but no confirmation is available so far, a senior Turkish diplomat said on Saturday.
“We are unable to confirm the killings at the moment. Our diplomats in Iraq will contact the related Iraqi authorities today and try to verify the report,” the diplomat told the news agency.
The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television quoted Iraqi police as saying late Friday that the bodies of two Turkish hostages shot dead have been found in Baiji in northern Iraq.
“Al-Jazeera learned from sources in the Iraqi police that the bodies of two Turkish hostages executed by gunfire were found on the main road near the Al-Sharkat area in the town of Baiji,” the report said.
A group calling itself the “Islamic Tawheed (Unification) Group” meanwhile posted a statement on an Islamist website threatening to use force to stop Turkey sending supplies to the US army via its border with Iraq.
At least six Turks are known to be in captivity in Iraq. If confirmed, the killings of the two Turks will bring to three the number of Turkish nationals executed by Iraqi hostage-takers.
A Turkish worker was shown on an Internet video on August 2 being blindfolded and shot three times in the head by his hooded captors.
Several Turkish men, mostly truck drivers, have been kidnapped in the war-torn country and then released.
The diplomat declined to say how many Turkish nationals are currently in captivity or missing in Iraq. “There are some groups which have turned this (hostage-taking) into a kind of a commercial activity. Revealing figures will only encourage them to go on,” he said. afp