Turkish man pays 150,000-lira ransom to ISIL to retrieve daughter-in-law, grandchild
ISTANBULA Turkish man has paid 150,000 Turkish Liras to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to retrieve his daughter-in-law and granddaughter, who were taken to Raqqa by his son in 2014 to live under the banner of the group, daily Habertürk reported on Dec. 28.
Identified as Kemal M., the man, a local of the Central Anatolian province of Konya, sold his house and handed the amount demanded by ISIL to its representatives inside Turkey to retrieve the woman, identified as M., and his 3-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter after he learned that his son Sedat M., 28, had died there after taking the family to Syria in 2014.
Sedat M. left Turkey with his family after leaving a note to his father, saying that “the day he has waited for arrived” and that they were going to live in the “Islamic State.” After a year of effort to bring his son and his family back to Turkey, Kemal M. paid a ransom for his daughter-in-law and granddaughter after being told that his son had died in Syria.
“After they joined ISIL, within the first four months, I talked on the phone to my son and daughter-in-law often. I begged them a lot to make them return but could not convince them,” said the father, adding that one day he received a call saying his son had been killed in Syria but that other members of the family were safe.
“I had to rescue my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter,” said Kemal M., adding that initially the woman said she did not want to return and wanted to “live Islam.” Later, however, she called him, asking him to rescue her.
Kemal M. said he made research and found contacts who “deal with these kinds of issues.” Contacting the men and giving the names of his family, Kemal M. said he received a call four days later, and learned that the woman and the child were staying at a place in which the wives of ISIL fighter stay. He said the contacts asked for 150,000 liras, both for themselves and for the ransom to be paid to ISIL.
Kemal M. said he tried to negotiate the ransom but was rejected, forcing him to arrange the money. Later, he went to an address in the southern Turkish border province of Hatay.
“Two Syrians brought my daughter-in-law and granddaughter in Raqqa through Aleppo and asked me to hand the money to their man in Konya,” said Kemal M.
He said that after the Syrian men confirmed that the money had been handed to their agent in Konya, they brought the woman and the child to him. Kemal M. said the woman does not talk about her life in Raqqa and does not even talk about whether or not his son died.
Kemal M. also said he did not believe that his son had died, even though he has not heard from him for two years.
“There is no evidence showing that he died. Someone says, ‘he died.’ I do not believe this; my son is still alive. I am trying to find him. I also paid 100,000 liras two months ago to some individuals who said they knew about the whereabouts of my son. When you have hope, you believe everything. Now they say, ‘Give us 60,000 liras and we will give him.’ But the picture they sent me turned out to be montage,” said Kemal M.