No contact with pirates kidnapping Turkish crew: Turkey

Alaturka Politika Haberleri

By Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA (AA) – Pirates who kidnapped Turkish crew members on a cargo ship off the Gulf of Guinea have not established any contact, Turkey's foreign minister said Monday.

"The pirates have established contact with neither the families [of crew], nor with us, nor company officials," Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Turkish parliament.

Cavusoglu noted that Ankara was closely following events, adding: "Hopefully, we'll rescue our citizens, and bring them to our country."

He further underlined that Turkey had provided the necessary information on the incident. "We're in contact with the neighboring countries. Everyone is making great efforts. The company that owns the ship likewise has completed all the necessary preparations," he added.

Cavusoglu said the incident would be a lesson "so both the countries and companies in the region take the necessary measures."

The Liberian-flagged cargo ship Mozart anchored at Port-Gentil at 11 a.m. (0800GMT) on Sunday.

In the Saturday pirate attack, out of 19 or 20 crew members, 15 were kidnapped and three remained with the pirates — both groups all reportedly Turkish nationals — while one Azerbaijani crew member was killed. It is unclear how many surviving crew members may still be on the cargo ship.

The Turkish foreign minister said the body of an Azerbaijani crew member who died during the incident would be transported to Azerbaijan on a Turkish Airlines airplane.

He noted that the funeral had been conducted in Gabon according to Islamic rites.

Cavusoglu also thanked authorities in the African country for their close cooperation with Turkey on the issue.

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