ISIS Release of Turkish Diplomats Raises Questions

ISIS released 49 hostages Saturday. They are Turkish diplomatic officials, family members and three Iraqi workers who have been held since June when they were seized at the Turkish Embassy in Mosul.

Turkey says no ransom was paid and the rescue was not a military operation. It says it knew where the hostages were kept through electronic tracking and intelligence.

The Turkish General Counsel, one of the hostages, says they were almost killed by U.S. airstrikes, which killed two of their guards outside and wounded some inside. [More...]

Another hostage from the consulate told NTV that the bombing was continuous. "It hit us. I was trapped under debris. Glass had sticked into my head. They told that two [militants] were killed outside," the unnamed man said.

Several experts are doubting Turkey's account of the release, particularly that no concessions were made to ISIS.

Several ISIS supporters on Twitter say it was a prisoner exchange, and one of the prisoners released to ISIS was the wife of Hajji Baker, the deceased ISIS military commander and former Baathist and colonel in Saddam Hussein's army. (His real name is Samir Abd Mouhammad al-Khleifawi. He was killed at his home in a shootout, reportedly by Liwa al-Tawhid, of the Islamic Front, in January, 2014. His wife was wounded and taken into custody.)

In any event, the release of the hostages removes an obstacle to Turkey's "robust" participation in the U.S. coalition against ISIS. Turkey also opened its borders yesterday to about 60,000 Syrian Kurds fleeing ISIS in the Kobane area. Still, I don't see Turkey being anything other than a lackluster partner.

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    The coalition. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by lentinel on Sun Sep 21, 2014 at 10:30:39 AM EST
    Still, I don't see Turkey being anything other than a lackluster partner.

    I don't see any of the States in the region being anything but lackluster partners.

    To quote the Guardian:

    Ten Arab countries have endorsed the effort, but none has publicly committed to military action - although several, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are believed to have privately indicated willingness to participate in air strikes.

    "...are believed to have privately indicated willingness"...
    Are they kidding?

    Re: Turkey, the article goes on to say,

    Turkey, the only Muslim member of Nato, has resisted pressure to join in air strikes or allow its bases to be used for strikes. Iran, which is engaged in fighting Isis in northern Iraq, has not been invited to join the coalition.

    This looks less like a battle against evil and more like an our effort to maintain a self-interested foothold in the region.

    My comment, tainted I will admit with deep cynicism:

    To maintain and justify its power in the region, ISIS needs the US.
    To maintain and justify its power over us, the US needs ISIS.

    A profitable symbiotic relationship.

    Power Over You? (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sun Sep 21, 2014 at 10:42:45 AM EST
    To maintain and justify its power over us, the US needs ISIS.

    What power does the US have on you because of ISIS?

    Is the big news here... (none / 0) (#3)
    by unitron on Tue Sep 23, 2014 at 01:05:39 AM EST
    ...that Turkey, which is not thrilled with the idea of losing land to the creation (or re-creation) of a Kurdistan, let 60,000 more Kurds into the country?

    No, it's that they refused to admit (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Sep 23, 2014 at 02:57:41 AM EST
    the release was a prisoner exchange in which 50 ISIS prisoners were released. Now confirmed. Today Turkey's president "hinted" that's what happened. The deal was struck with Liwa al Tawheed and 50 Isis prisoners were released, including Hajji Bakr's wife.

    Saw that on Charlie Rose (none / 0) (#5)
    by fishcamp on Tue Sep 23, 2014 at 11:08:34 AM EST
    this morning but I'm not good at voice over while reading  Turkish lips in Turkish.  I hope MOBlue's gremlin doesn't switch to Turkish but I would love to visit the Hagia Sophia.

    You should visit Turkey if you ever get the (none / 0) (#6)
    by Angel on Tue Sep 23, 2014 at 11:48:27 AM EST
    opportunity.  The Sophia, Ephesus and the other ruins and old churches and mosques are fabulous.  Great food and friendly people too.  The Bosphorus is gorgeous as well.