Senior Iraqi Intelligence Official Reveals Link between Abducted Turkish Workers, ISIL
A senior Iraqi intelligence official disclosed on Saturday that the 18 Turkish construction workers who were kidnapped by an unknown group were working for a company that backs up ISIL with financial aid.
“Based on the secret intelligence that we have, those abducted were working for the Turkish company which financially supports the ISIL,” the official who called for anonymity told FNA on Saturday.
The official said that the money gained by the Turkish companies has been transferred to the ISIL by a person named Ziyad al-Kartani.
He said that the Friday clashes in Sadr city were the result of a misunderstanding since the Iraqi security forces thought that the abducted workers were being kept in one of Iraqi Hezbollah group’s headquarters in the city and therefore they attacked it but they just found al-Kartani who is a middleman between the Turkish workers and the ISIL.
An unknown Iraqi militia claimed the kidnapping of 18 Turkish construction workers in a video circulated on Friday that stipulated the conditions of their release and threatened violence if they weren’t met.
The three-minute video showed five black-clad gunmen with their faces covered standing behind the Turkish men, who were kidnapped on Sept. 2 when attackers disguised in military uniforms stormed the Baghdad construction site where they worked.
The video was the first sign the Turkish nationals are being held hostage in Iraq, though the captors’ identity was unclear.
A spokeswoman for Nurol Holding, the Turkish company that has employed the hostages, confirmed its employees were in the video.
The spokeswoman said the Ankara-based conglomerate hasn’t been contacted by the group and no demands or ransom requests have been made directly to them.
Addressing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the video called the Syrian rebel groups “your militias,” suggesting that they are backed by Turkey.
One Turkish hostage in the video made a plea directly to Erdogan, saying he and his fellow captives came to Iraq to make a living and shouldn’t pay for state policies.
Turkey backs the al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and a range of other groups in Syria that are all in fight against both the Damascus government and the ISIL terrorist group.