Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) and visiting NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen attend a joint press conference in Ankara, June 16, 2014. Rasmussen on Monday called for immediate release of 80 Turkish hostages kept in northern Iraq. (Xinhua/Mustafa Kaya)
ANKARA, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Visiting NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday called for immediate release of 80 Turkish hostages kept in northern Iraq.
"We want to see all of the Turkish hostages released and we want to see them safe," Rasmussen said at a joint press conference held with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in the Turkish capital of Ankara.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is following the dangerous developments in Iraq with concern, Rasmussen said, noting that he condemned the Islamic militant's attack against the Turkish consulate general in northern Iraqi city of Mosul, capital of Nineveh province.
A group of militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant ( ISIL) took control of the consulate general on Wednesday, and abducted 49 staff and family members, including the consul-general.
Meanwhile, 31 Turkish nationals were also taken hostage by the same militant group in a power plant in the Gyarah region of Mosul, said the statement, adding that rescue efforts are currently underway.
The ISIL, commonly known as al-Qaida in Iraq, seized Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, and Tikrit, another provincial capital, respectively on Tuesday and Wednesday in its renewed clashes with government forces.