Footage of scribes aired as efforts intensified
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
AA PhotoThe footage of two Turkish journalists who have been missing in Syria since March was released today for first time by the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH). An official from the İHH has said they are being held in a prison in Damascus and “humanitarian diplomatic rescue” efforts have just begun.
“Some officials from the İHH visited Hamit [Coşkun] and Adem [Özköse] on May 5 in Damascus in the prison [where] they were held, as a result of intense humanitarian diplomatic efforts. Since the parties in the case are clear now, I can say that the real diplomatic process has just begun,” the vice president of the İHH, Hüseyin Oruç, told the Daily News.
Oruç also confirmed that the journalists were captured by Syrian officials and put in a prison. “The process continues and we are hopeful that it will be accomplished soon,” Oruç added. Turkish sources told the Daily News Turkey had knowledge of journalists being kept prisoner in Damascus by the Syrian regime since the early days of their disappearance. A diplomatic note was sent to Damascus about the issue but the Syrian side denied that the journalists were prisoners and there was no official record of Coşkun or Özköse entering the country.
‘Happiest day of my life’
The same sources said the recent photos taken in the prison increased the chance of the release of the Turkish journalists. Bülent Yıldırım, head of the İHH, and other officials returned to Istanbul yesterday without making a statement to the press about the final status of the journalists, who are still under arrest.
In the silent footage of the journalists distributed by the İHH, Coşkun and Köse appear healthy and in a positive mood. “This is the happiest day of my life,” Coşkun was quoted as saying in the announcement on the İHH’s website while Köse reportedly said, “We are waiting for the day that we will return to Turkey.”
Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said the Foreign Ministry was taking the necessary steps all around. “They contacted their families and they are healthy, this is what we know,” Atalay said today.