Freed Turkish truck drivers board a Turkish Airlines private plane to depart from Arbil International Airport to Turkey's Sanliurfa on July 3, 2014.
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Islamist militants in Iraq have freed 32 Turkish truck drivers held hostage for three weeks in a mass kidnapping that shocked Turkey, the foreign minister said Thursday.The truck drivers are now on their way back to Turkey through northern Iraq but a separate group of almost 50 kidnapped Turks remain in captivity, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters. The kidnappings sparked intense concern in Ankara over the rise of radical Islamist groups across the border in Syria and Iraq.Turkey, which backs the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad, has repeatedly denied accusations that it is itself to blame for the growing presence of Islamist insurgents in Syria and Iraq.
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