Turkey vows to bring home diplomatic hostages

Photo: Turkey vows to bring home diplomatic hostages / Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to bring home 49 consulate staff kidnapped in Iraq as other Turkish hostages of ISIL militants were reunited with their families on Thursday.

Speaking at an iftar dinner to break the Ramadan fast, Erdogan said: "Turkey's 32 truck drivers detained by ISIL - the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - have safely arrived in Turkey after their 23 day-long ordeal in Mosul, Iraq."

The drivers were seized by ISIL on June 9 and reunited with their families at Sanliurfa's GAP Airport on Thursday following negotiations involving the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Turning to the August 10 presidential election, for which he is the ruling Justice and Development Party's candidate, Erdogan added: "The election of the president by popular vote will be a manifestation of national will in Turkey."

He added: "Being a president elected by the people I will not be disconnected but hand in hand with the people of Turkey."

Following a 2007 referendum, Turks will for the first time directly elect their president, who was previously elected by parliament.

A candidate needs more than 50 percent of the popular vote to be elected in the first round, which will take place on August 10. A second round will be held on August 24 if none of the candidates achieves this.

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