ANKARA, Turkey – A Turkish company has agreed to stop doing business with the U.S. military in Iraq (search) to win the freedom of two employees held hostages by militants who have threatened to behead them, a news report said Tuesday.
The two Turkish hostages were allowed to call their families to say they would be freed within a week after their company, Kayteks (search), agreed to kidnappers' demands to stop working as a contractor for the U.S. military in Iraq, a Turkish television network reported.
The fathers of the two hostages said in phone interviews Tuesday with the private network that the two hostages — Soner Sercali (search), an air conditioning repairman, and his co-worker Murat Kizil (search) — were in good health. They have been reported missing since June 1.
Sercali's father Feridun said Kayteks had agreed to stop doing business in Iraq.
Neither the company nor the families could be reached for comment Tuesday.
The Turkish news agency Ihlas on Monday released a photograph of the two hostages showing them squatting in front of five masked men armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. The agency said its photographer took the picture at an unspecified location in Iraq.
Another group of insurgents are threatening to behead three other Turkish hostages in Iraq. The deadline expires on Tuesday.
Thousands of Turks work as truck drivers or contractors in Iraq. The kidnapped Turks were accused of working for the U.S. occupiers.