Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on militants belonging to the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq to release the 49 Turkish hostages who were abducted last month in Iraq Hurriyet Daily News reported.
"In this sacred Ramadan month, there is an organization called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. If they really believe [in Islam], then we expect them to return our brothers," Erdogan said late on July 9 in the Central Anatolian province of Tokat.
IS, which previously referred to itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), kidnapped Turkey's consul-general and 48 personnel of the consulate on June 11 after it seized control of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Thirty-two Turkish drivers, who were taken hostage by members of a local tribe working with ISIL, were freed last month.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu recently said the government was continuing to work for the release of kidnapped citizens and asked the public not to speculate about the incident.