"We can confirm that the 10 Turkish hostages have been freed. They have been taken to the offices of their employer, the Vinsan company. Authorities from the embassy are now with them," Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Namil Tan said.

A group calling itself the Salafi Abu Bakr al-Siddiq Battalions said last month it would kill the 10 men if Vinsan did not withdraw from Iraq. The men were held for 38 days.

Within days Vinsan promised to suspend its operations to save the hostages. The firm had won a contract to build a highway in southern Iraq.

Several Turkish nationals have been abducted in Iraq since April, when a wave of abductions began primarily targeting foreign workers. Most of them have been freed, but several Turks have been killed.
 
In a videotape aired on Monday, a Turkish contractor was beheaded by his captors for allegedly co-operating with US forces.