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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 February, 2005, 10:19 GMT
Turkish businessman freed in Iraq
Kidnappers in southern Iraq have released a Turkish shipping magnate after holding him for two months.

Kahraman Sadikoglu, who owns the Istanbul-based Tuzla Shipyard, was freed after his family paid a large ransom, Turkish newspapers report.

The Turkish foreign ministry said Mr Sadikoglu was flown to Baghdad after being freed on Monday night.

After his abduction he appeared in a video saying he had been clearing sunken ships from Iraqi harbours.

He also said he was being treated well by his captors.

Salvage expert

In his mid-50s, he is well known for salvaging ships around the world.

He was kidnapped in December in the southern port of Um Qasr along with a boat captain and driver, who were released last month.

His wife Julide Sadikoglu, quoted by Reuters news agency on Tuesday, said: "We paid a ransom for Kahraman, but it was less than $1m".

The Turkish newspaper Vatan said his family had paid the kidnappers $500,000.

His wife told Reuters the abductors were a criminal group kidnapping people for money, not for any ideological reason.

Mr Sadikoglu is popular in Turkey for having restored the luxury yacht Savarona once owned by the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Associated Press reports.



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