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LOCAL >Fellow journalists gather for kidnapped Turkish journalist

ISTANBUL - Cihan News Agency

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Journalists gathered in Ankara to demand the release of colleague Bünyamin Aygün, who was kidnapped by al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Journalists gathered in Ankara to demand the release of colleague Bünyamin Aygün, who was kidnapped by al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Journalists gathered in five simultaneous demonstrations in different cities to demand the release of colleague Bünyamin Aygün, who was kidnapped by al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria.

Aygün, daily Milliyet’s photojournalist, was kidnapped some time ago, and efforts to secure his release have yet to yield results.

Aygün’s colleagues gathered in five different locations in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Antalya and Trabzon to draw attention to his kidnapping, carrying signs that called for his release. Photojournalists laid their cameras on the ground in honor of Aygün during the protests.

Agence France-Presse reporter Bülent Kılıç said Aygün wanted to head to Syria “for one last story,” and did so, despite unwillingness from other journalists.

“It just isn’t easy holding Bünyamin back,” Kılıç said, while calling on the kidnappers to stop using journalists as leverage in negotiations and to release Aygün immediately.

Twenty-five journalists have been killed since the start of the conflict in March 2011, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), while more than 30 journalists are estimated to have been abducted or detained.

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is believed to be holding several foreign journalists, as well as scores of Syrian activists.

The vast majority of the kidnappings over the past six months have occurred in opposition-held parts of northern and eastern Syria, where al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups are particularly strong.

December/23/2013

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