Abducted Turkish pilots' families meet with President Gül
İrfan Akpınar, brother of kidnapped pilot Murat Akpınar DHA, speaks to reporters after the meeting with the president. Photo
Turkish President Abdullah Gül has received the families of two pilots, Murat Akpınar and Murat Ağca, who were kidnapped in Lebanon on Aug. 9, at the Presidency Palace in Istanbul's Tarabya district.
The meeting of Gül and the families lasted for an hour. They shared information and talked about the latest situation of the two pilots, as a tense wait for the release has been continuing for almost three weeks.
The families wanted the release of nine Lebanese people held hostage in Syria, who are reported to be the reason for the Turkish pilots' abduction, İrfan Akpınar, brother of Murat Akpınar, told reporters after the meeting with the president.
"We are not the addressee of this subject, nor are their families. Nor is the Turkish Republic, I think. They aimed at something and they succeeded in it," Akpınar said. "...We share their sorrow, too. We feel what they feel [about abduction of their relatives], however, we think this situation should be put to an end."
Akpınar also said that they were against a rescue operation due to the risks after a reporter recalled the Lebanese interior minister's statement on Aug. 27, saying that security officials had got very close to rescuing the two abducted Turkish pilots, but failed when the kidnappers changed their location.
"Both families think it is not right to rescue the two pilots with such operations. Because we don't want them get hurt. And we find [the operation idea] inconvenient," Akpınar said. "We asked the president to deliver our request to the Lebanese authorities."
The pilots were kidnapped by a group demanding that Turkey use its influence with Syria’s rebels, who it backs, to secure the release of the nine Lebanese Shiites kidnapped in Syria.