Turkish captive released in Iraq

After months of negotiations and ceasing all operations in war-torn Iraq, a Turkish services company has reported that one of its captured employees has been freed by his captors.

    Turkish drivers hauling oil and gas have been targeted

    "Yes, the latest development is correct and we are getting ready to take Aytullah Gezmen from the Turkish border this evening or tomorrow morning and [get him] together with his family," Zafer Ergun, overseas coordinator of Turkish services company Bilintur, told Aljazeera.net on Wednesday.


    "Groups declared that they freed him on 14 September at 1500 (1100 GMT)," Ergun added.


    He explained that Gezmen had been first moved to the Turkish embassy in Baghdad.


    Bilintur pulled its 130-strong staff from Iraq and halted all its operations on 15 August, complying with Gezmen's captors' demands under threat of his execution.


    Its parent company, Tepe Construction, was also forced to cease operations in Iraq after the captors appeared dissatisfied that only Bilintur had withdrawn from the war-torn country.

    Gezmen, a 23-year-old Turkish national who worked as a receptionist for Bilintur's laundry services operation at one of the US military bases near Baghdad, was reported missing on 27 June.

    Family happy

    "His family is very happy and ready to [embrace] him," Ergun said of Gezmen's release. "We are very happy for our personnel and his family."


    Gezmen's family had been directly involved in pleading for his release from his captors.


    "His captors have been calling directly to the family home and speaking to Aytullah's brother who is then relaying the information and their demands to us," Ergun told Aljazeera.net in a telephone interview on 17 August.

    Ergun said another staff member also went missing on 27 June and was reported executed on 1 August.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera



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