Abductors of Turkish pilots send letter to Lebanese daily

Abductors of Turkish pilots send letter to Lebanese daily

ANKARA - Hürriyet
Abductors of Turkish pilots send letter to Lebanese daily

This picture showing the pilots Murat Akpınar and Murat Ağca was released to the Lebanese media by the abductors on Aug. 29. AA photo / LBCI

The kidnappers of the two Turkish Airlines pilots in Beirut have sent a letter to a newspaper, saying that they are ready to release their hostages if their relatives abducted by the Syrian rebels and others detained during a Lebanese police investigation are also freed.

"No one should have concerns regarding the health and security of the pilots. We want for all to end well. Our only demand is for the release of our relatives kidnapped in Azez, Syria, as well as the release of our three family members arrested and our 10 relatives for whom an arrest warrent has been issued," the letter published in Lebenese daily An-Nahar said, daily Hürriyet reported Aug. 31.

"We ask for a guarantee from the Lebanese Justice Ministry. If this is provided, we are committed to immediately releasing the Turkish pilots," the letter added.

The pilots, Murat Akpınar and Murat Ağca, were kidnapped on Aug. 9 by a group demanding that Turkey use its influence with Syria's rebels to secure the release of nine Shiite Lebanese citizens kidnapped in Syria.

Thirteen people, all family members of the nine pilgrims, have also been filed by a court as part of an investigation launched by the Lebanese police.

'Turkey not responsible for abduction'

For their part, Turkish official sources told Hürriyet that they had taken note of the letter, but added that Turkey did not bear any responsibility regarding the abduction of the nine Lebanese Shiite pilgrims over two years ago.

"We cannot accept being shown as responsible for the kidnapping," sources said.

The kidnappers had released photographs of the pilots and an audio tape on Aug. 29.