The Iraqi Shiite militia Furaq al Mawt (Death Squad) has announced in released video footage that it was responsible for kidnapping several Turkish workers and threatened the Turkish government that it will kill its abducted citizens if conditions are not met.
Eighteen Turkish citizens were kidnapped in the Shiite district of Habibiya in Iraq's capital Baghdad on Sept. 2. They were construction workers and engineers for Turkish Nurol Holding which was in charge of building a sports complex in the eastern Baghdad district of Sadr City.
Sadr City is a stronghold of Shiite paramilitary groups.
The video footage has said that the Shiite militia could release the Turkish citizens but “[President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan must fulfill the following requirements.”
First, Turkey should prevent armed militants from crossing from the country into Iraq, the footage said.
Second, the footage demanded “Turkey should stop carrying stolen oil from Kurdistan,” referring to the actions of the Kurdish administration in Northern Iraq led by Masoud Barzani with which Turkey has strong political and economic relations.
The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government has had many disagreements with the central Baghdad government, the selling of oil abroad being the most prominent, and Turkey is one of the region's best partners in the oil trade.
Third, the group accused Turkey of having "militias" in Syria and demanded their withdrawal in villages of Foa, Kafreyya, Nubbul, and Zahra villages close to the Lebanese border where the Fatah Army has currently been clashing with Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah according to media reports.
The Shiite militia accuses the Turkish government of supporting the encirclement of the areas by the Fatah Army.
Furaq al Mawt also demanded the Turkish government “order” the Fatah Army and other groups to allow humanitarian help reach to the Shiite areas in Syria's Aleppo and Idlib provinces.
The Shiite groups claim that the Fatah Army has been preventing residents from receiving aid in the aforementioned areas. The groups also claim the Fatah Army has been a direct proxy of the Turkish government.
“If Erdogan and his party do not meet with these demands, Turkish interests and spies in Iraq will be crushed in the most possible worst way,” they threatened.
Turkish authorities previously declared that their investigation indicates the abductors were not connected with either the outlawed PKK or ISIS.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi called the abductors "the corrupt owners of organised crime,” and said they would receive a swift punishment once they are captured.