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Freed Turkish worker's fears for sons still in Iraq

Necdet Yilmaz, one of 18 Turkish men recently abducted in Baghdad, returns home as two sons remain in captivity

17.09.2015
Freed Turkish worker's fears for sons still in Iraq

ANKARA

A Turkish construction worker who was abducted by gunmen in Baghdad has told Anadolu Agency about his ordeal and his fears for his two sons still being held in Iraq.

Necdet Yilmaz, who was freed with a companion on Wednesday, arrived home in Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday.

Yilmaz and Ercan Ozpilavci were two of 18 Turkish workers recently kidnapped in Iraq; the pair was released Wednesday in Basra.

They had been among a group abducted earlier this month in a Baghdad suburb by an armed Shia Muslim faction.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Yilmaz said they had not been maltreated and did not know why they had been abducted.

"Our captors said: 'There is an investigation about you; you are our guest until the investigation ends'," Yilmaz recounted, adding that he had no idea about the captors’ identities as there were hundreds of military factions in Iraq.

"The place we stayed was awful; we did not know where it was. We were even taken to the toilet with our eyes blindfolded," he said.

Yilmaz said that although their captors spoke Arabic one of the Turkish workers understood the language, which enabled communication with the group.

He speculated that he might have been freed due to his heart condition, adding: "They [the captors] said they would release us, but we did not know how many of us would be released [or] when."

Yilmaz said he had two sons still in the hands of the kidnappers but that he expected them to be released, along with his other companions.

In his remarks, Yilmaz thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other state officials for their help.

All those abducted are employees of Nurol Holding, a Turkish construction firm currently carrying out development projects in the Iraqi capital.

Last week, a video appeared online purportedly showing the 18 abductees kneeling before five masked and armed men.

In the video, the abductees -- who include three engineers and an accountant -- give their names and the names of their hometowns in Turkey.

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