Business as usual for Turkish firms in Baghdad

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Turkish investment projects in Iraq’s violence-prone capital remain underway despite recent abductions

BAGHDAD – Turkish investment projects in Baghdad remain underway despite the abduction of 18 Turkish workers in Iraq’s violence-prone capital, an Iraqi investment official said Monday.

Early this month, 18 Turkish workers were abducted from a Baghdad construction site by members of an armed Shia militia group.

“Turkish companies have continued to carry out their work in Baghdad,” Shaker al-Zamli, president of Baghdad Province’s investment organization, said. “They have not been affected by the abductions, especially in light of ongoing security coordination with the [Iraqi] army, police and intelligence apparatus.”

Turkish firms are currently carrying out a host of investment projects in Iraq’s housing, health and tourism sectors, according to al-Zamli, who went on to note that some 80 percent of the workers involved in such projects were Iraqis.

The 18 Turkish workers were abducted on Sept. 2 from a construction site in Sadr City, a majority-Shia suburb of Baghdad, by unidentified gunmen in army uniform.

All those abducted are employees of Nurol Holding, a Turkish construction firm.

On Friday, a video appeared online purportedly showing the 18 abductees kneeling before five masked men holding guns. 

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

The subtitled video includes a call on the Turkish government to meet the kidnappers’ demands in order to secure the hostages’ release.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, has said it was making every effort to secure the men’s release.

Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic told Anadolu Agency that Turkey was closely monitoring the situation while urging the Iraqi authorities to secure the release of the hostages as soon as possible.

In June 2014, 49 Turkish hostages were released by their captors in Iraq after having been abducted by the Daesh militant group when it took over the northern city of Mosul.

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