Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al Abadi accused those who kidnapped 18 Turkish construction workers on Wednesday of being "terrorists," and promised to treat them as such as soon as the Interior Ministry's search helps capture the abductors.
Eighteen Turkish citizens were kidnapped in Shia district of Habibiya, Baghdad, based on a statement released by Nurol Holding which is the employer of the kidnapped workers and engineers.
Abadi called the abductors "the corrupt owners of organized crime."
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that the Turkish authorities are in contact with their counterparts in Iraq and trying to find out who is behind the kidnapping.
Kurtulmus also said that no contact had been established yet with the missing Turkish soldier, following a cross-border fire from ISIS territory in northern Syria on Tuesday, causing the death of another Turkish soldier.
No specific group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry held a meeting on Thursday headed by Minister Mohammad al Ghabban, to discuss the challenges faced by the government, especially the Turkish workers’ kidnap case in eastern Baghdad.
"The Interior Ministry gives its full support and for intelligence and logistical support activities carried out by the Baghdad operations," the Interior Ministry said.
Baghdad Operations an Iraqi security campaign aimed at restoring safety in the capital said "The security forces arrested eight gangs of kidnapping in Baghdad and surrounding provinces in the last two months, and dismantling a number of terrorist cells in various provinces."
Iraqis security officials stated that the 18 workers employed by a Turkish construction company in charge of building a sports complex in the eastern Baghdad district of Sadr City, were taken in the northeastern district of Habibiya early on Wednesday.
Last year 46 Turkish citizens were seized by ISIS militants in Mosul, but were released unharmed after more than three months in captivity.
Turkey has recently begun launching air strikes against ISIS in northern Syria and allowing US warplanes to use bases in southeastern Turkey to strike against the group.