BAGHDAD, Iraq – Gunmen claiming to belong to a militant Muslim group displayed four men believed to be part of a group of seven Turkish contractors kidnapped in Iraq.
The militants demanded that Turkish companies end all business here and pull staff out of the country in return for the workers' release.
A video obtained by the Associated Press Television News showed four gunmen, their faces covered by headscarves and toting Kalashnikov rifles (search). They stood behind the four Turks who were crouched on the ground and holding passports.
One of the gunmen, in a red headscarf, read a statement saying the men worked for a Turkish construction company, Serka (search), that has been "serving" the American occupation forces.
The four abducted Turks were identified as Tarkan Suleyman Arak, Ali Nuri Cesur, Erdal Belgin and Ozhan Karatas. Arak was identified as an engineer but the others' jobs were unknown.
They were kidnapped by "our Jihad groups" because they worked for the Americans, the gunman said.
"We urge the Muslim Turkish people to reject these acts and pressure Turkish companies to cancel contracts and pull their employees out of Iraq until we liberate our country and expel the occupiers from our land," the man said.
The gunman also said the kidnappers "appreciated the stand of the Turkish people" against abuse of Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib prison.
He also lauded Turkey for "canceling all its military contracts with the Zionist entity," meaning Israel.
"We have decided to deal with the hostages in a humanitarian way," he said. "And in accord with the stand that may be adopted by [their] company to cancel all contracts and pull out employees from Iraq."
Earlier this week, Turkey's Anatolia news agency said two Turkish hostages — Adnan Azizoglu and Tarkan Arikoglu — and their Turkoman (search) driver, Fethi Kiyas, were released Tuesday.
The three, who also worked for Serka, were kidnapped on Sunday while traveling from Fallujah to the northern city of Mosul, the agency said.
It was not clear if the three released were among the seven Turkish hostages first shown to reporters earlier in the week.