Families of missing Turkish ISIL militants ask Turkey to try them at home
Fevzi Kızılkoyun/İdris Emen – ANKARA
“Our sons were tricked and our daughters were forcefully taken by their husbands. Now most of them are captives in Iraq,” the families said, asking the state to “bring our children back.”
“If they are going to be tried, they should be tried here. Hear our voice,” they said.
The plight of Turkish jihadists’ wives and children came to prominence after the Iraqi army liberated Mosul and Tal Afar from ISIL.
Many families in Turkey are desperately searching for their relatives and trying to obtain information on their whereabouts.
Mehtap Nur Kazancı, who has been searching for her 7-year-old son Alparslan Çelik, said her former husband Muhammet Çelik took their son to Syria in 2014.
“I know that my son was taken to Iraq after his father was killed in 2015. I’m a mother and my heart and mind is there. I’m waiting for the day that I will reunite with my son,” Kazancı told daily Hürriyet.
Another woman looking for her child is Kezban Mağden, who says her daughter Hatice Cırcır went to Iraq three years ago with her husband Yusuf Cırcır.
“When her husband died in Iraq she wanted to return to Turkey but the roads are closed. There is war, how can she come back?” Mağden said.
Mustafa Daştan, meanwhile, said he had given a petition regarding her daughter Rukiye Yeter.
“We know that my daughter and grandchildren Havva, Zeynep and Meryem are captives. Three innocent children are there but we don’t know their condition,” Daştan said.
There are also many other families hoping to reunite with their little children taken to ISIL-controlled areas after the defeat of the jihadist group.
Six-year-old Destan, 6-year-old Yağız, and 3-year-old Yiğit Alp are just three of the unknown number of infants facing a murky future.
Şahin Aktan has been looking for his son Destan since his Kyrgyz-origin former wife Svetlana Çhasanova took him to Syria.
Aktan married Çhasanova in 2008 and the couple had their son in 2011. In 2014, Aktan started to notice differences in his wife’s behavior, as she started wearing a veil and watching scenes of the Syrian war more often. He then noticed that Çhasanova was in contact with ISIL militants over Facebook.
“She was talking to strange men with beards on Facebook. We were in such a situation that we had to separate our beds. She started to beat our son. One day, she came to me and said: ‘They will come and pick me up from here.’ I then learned she was talking to an ISIL commander named ‘Hamzat,’” Aktan told Hürriyet.
Hamzat called Çhasanova to Syria, after which he and Aktan divorced in 2014. After a court gave the custody of then-3-year-old Destan to his mother, Çhasanova moved to Istanbul’s Sultanbeyli district, before crossing into Syria with the little boy in July 2014.
“On June 30, 2014, I called my former wife and she didn’t pick up. I went to her house in Sultanbeyli but there was no one at home. I then learned that she had changed her name to ‘Asiye’ and our son’s name to ‘Abdullah,’” Aktan said, adding that Çhasanova had married Hamzat.
According to Aktan, Çhasanova contacted him at the beginning of this year after ISIL started to lose territories in Iraq and Syria.
“I asked her to send pictures of Destan to me and she did. He was looking devastated. There was a picture of him taken under an ISIL flag. Our last conversation was on Oct. 5 and she told me that they were in a town called ‘al-Qaim.’ Then our communication ended,” Aktan said, urging the Turkish authorities to bring Destan back to Turkey to rehabilitate him.
Another child, Yiğit Alp, was also taken to Syria in 2014 by his mother Hülya. The boy’s father Ramazan Bozkurt said that Hülya sent him pictures of his son six months ago.
“I saw that my son was wounded in his stomach and was receiving treatment at a hospital. She told me that he was wounded in an airstrike. Four months ago I learned that they were in Raqqa after she sent me her location. Hülya told me she wanted to come back to Turkey and kept asking for money,” Bozkurt said, adding that their communication then ended.
“I learned that they fell captive two months ago. I want my child to be brought back to Turkey,” he added.
Yağız, meanwhile, was taken to Syria by his father Serkan Öztürk in 2014. His mother, Deniz Öztürk, told Hürriyet that she found out that her former husband and son had moved to Tal Afar after crossing into Syria.
“They then moved to Raqqa. We had little communication when they were in Syria. I heard my son’s voice only once. He asked me, ‘Mom, why aren’t you coming here?’ He then asked where his toys were. We couldn’t talk after that,” Öztürk said, adding that she learned they were in Deir al-Zor two months ago.
“It has been three years since my son was taken to Syria. I know I will reunite with my son one day, but I don’t want it to be too late. It’s very difficult for a mother to say this, but if he dies I want to receive the dead body of my son – at least his grave will be here,” she added.