By Manolis Kostidis – Ankara
The turkish government has “let out a big breath” after the release and repatriation of the 49 Turkish hostages, who had been kidnapped 101 days ago by jihadists in Mosul.
At dawn on Saturday, the 49 employees of the Turkish consulate and their families arrived in the city Sanliurfa, which is located on the border with Syria, where they were welcomed by the Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who interrupted his trip to the capital of Azerbaijan Baku for this reason. The Turkish press describes the event as a “diplomatic success”.
No details were given about how their release was secured. Ahmet Davutoglu said that “there has been success with the contacts and the right actions”, while president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after stating that the turkish intelligence services (MIT) have gone into a “successful operation”, he clarified that “no ransom was given, but there was political and diplomatic negotiation, but even if some sort of exchange has taken place, what does it matter? Now everyone is with their families”.
The hostage situation for the turkish citizens, among them the Turkish Consul in Mosul, had begun after the invasion of the warriors of ISIS in the Turkish consulate last June.
One of the main reasons Ankara “justified” its reluctance to participate in military operations against ISIS was the hostage situation of the 49 Turks. Now it is thought that the turkish government feels “liberated” from this burden.
Diplomatic sources from Ankara report that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who travels to New York to attend the UN General Assembly, will discuss the possibility of creating a buffer zone inside Syrian territory, as well as the creation of a no-fly zone.
The Turkish president has already exhibited some signs towards a change of attitude, and said “we could have said yes when we were asked to join the international coalition against ISIS, but at the time it was not possible. We told them that we could not do anything, due to the fact that the issue with the hostages had not been settled. We said that we could not be part of the coalition, but we can come up with a road map after intensive negotiations with members of the coalition”.
One and a half million refugees are being hosted in Turkey
70,000 people crossed the borders in 3 days
Turkey faces a serious problem with refugees from Syria, since in the last three days alone, 70,000 Syrians have crossed the border into Turkey to escape the hands of the jihadists of ISIS, who advance to their villages near the border with Turkey.
Already, since Wednesday, fighters of the Islamic State have reached the outskirts of the border city Kobani. According to information, they have marched through at least 64 villages around the city.
Survivors attest to the jihadists kidnapping civilians and decapitating them as an example.
Ankara opened its borders on Friday, but on Sunday night the Turkish armed forces attempted to halt the unprecedented migration stream.
They warned the people not to come close to the border and used chemicals against those who did not obey.
However, 400 members of the PKK from Turkey and Northern Iraq, arrived in Syria to support the Kurds fighting ISIS within the Syrian territory.
Turkey is disturbed by the information that wants the United States sending arms to the Kurds, as they are the only ones who have open front with the jihadists. The possibility of sending arms to the PKK as well, especially scares the turkish government, which is now believed that it will attempt to join the international coalition against the jihadists.