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Turkey denies hostage bargaining with Islamic State

Turkey has denied claims that it considered a secret deal with the Islamic State to withdraw troops guarding the Suleyman Shah tomb in Syria in return for the release of Turkish hostages. A Foreign Ministry spokesman denied claims, repeated in the media for a second day, that it received an offer of the release of 49 Turks abducted in Mosul if it would hand over the land surrounding the burial place of the grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, Tanju Bilgic said on Friday: “We once again strongly dismiss this kind of groundless claims regarding the abduction of Turkey's Mosul consulate staff and invite all media organs to practice responsible journalism.”
The consulate staff and their families were seized in June. The Taraf newspaper on Friday claimed that IS had asked Turkey to remove troops guarding the tomb in Aleppo in exchange for the captives. The newspaper this led to heated debate between the president’s office and the ministry.

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