[Ed. – Hmmm.]
Hostages from a Turkish consulate who had been held in Iraq by Islamic State for more than three months were released Saturday morning and flown to Turkey, officials said.
The release followed protracted negotiations by the Turkish intelligence agency, and involved no ransom, Turkish officials insisted, raising questions about what leverage the agency might have used.
The 49 hostages, 46 of whom were Turkish, included the consul, other consular officials and their families. They were captured in Mosul by the Al Qaeda breakaway group on June 11, when the militants seized control of the northern Iraqi city. …
Unlike previous hostage releases by Islamic State, including that of several European journalists, Turkey has insisted it did not pay a ransom. The revenue of Islamic State, which has been called the richest terrorist organization in the world, relies in part on ransoms.
The Associated Press quoted a former Turkish diplomat as saying that the official explanation “sounds a bit too good to be true.”
“There are some very legitimate and unanswered questions about how this happened,” said Sinan Ulgen, who now chairs the Istanbul-based Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies.