Turkey requested Iran’s assistance to release kidnapped pilots
A Turkish peacekeeper of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) closes a gate of the Turkish Engineering Construction Company (TURKCOY) of UNIFIL in the village of Shaaytiyeh, southern Lebanon, August 12, 2013. REUTERS/Ali HashishoTurkey has requested Iran’s assistance in securing the release of Turkish pilots kidnapped in Lebanon, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Aug. 13.
“Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu asked for help from his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, in a phone conversation to find the kidnapped pilots,” Abbas Araghchi said during a news conference in Tehran. Salehi expressed his sorrow about the pilots and his wishes that they would be freed soon.
Davutoğlu, in turn, thanked Salehi and said Iran’s efforts to contribute to the release of the pilots would be welcomed.
Araghchi also condemned the kidnapping and said Iran would not refrain from helping Turkey if it could, citing the release of 48 Iranians who were kidnapped in Syria in 2012. Syrian rebels released 48 Iranian hostages as part of a prisoner swap in Damascus. In return for the hostages Syria released 2,130 rebel prisoners. The deal was reportedly brokered by Turkey and Qatar.