Colleagues ask Syria to set journalists free

Colleagues ask Syria to set journalists free

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Colleagues ask Syria to set journalists free

Journalist gather to protest outside the Syrian Embassy in Ankara and make a call for releasing two arrested journalists Cüneyt Ünal and Beshar Kadumi. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Journalists and media organizations have called on the Syrian administration to immediately release two arrested journalists, Cüneyt Ünal and Beshar Kadumi, who disappeared early in August while reporting on the clashes between Syrian troops and opposition groups.

“Journalists are not terrorists. Cüneyt and Beshar were in Syria as reporters. We want their immediate release and for them to return home safely,” Turgut Dedeoğlu, from the Turkish Union for Journalists (TGS), said at a protest rally in front of the Syrian Embassy in Ankara. “The language of journalists is peace. Do not try to make journalists a part of your wars,” he added.

Nearly 200 journalists and representatives joined the rally, as well as the families of arrested journalists Ünal and Kadumi. Ünal and Kadumi went missing in Syria in August, with initial reports claiming that both had been killed. A Syrian television channel later televised Ünal reading a text claiming that he had crossed the border into Syria to fight with the Free Syrian Army. A picture of him carrying a weapon was also publicized. “Ünal had been a cameraman for 17 years. He worked in a number of media institutions including CNNTürk and TRT. He went to Syria just to bring home money,” Ünal’s wife Nuran Ünal said. “All his family is waiting for his return home.”

Doğan Tılıç, spokesperson for the G-9, a body representing more than a dozen media associations, called on the Syrian leadership to release two Turkish journalists and other foreign colleagues. “Journalists are not a part of any war. They are there to cover the developments in the field, but this does not make them partial,” Tılıç said.

Journalists shouted slogans against the Syrian leadership and carried posters at the rally, reading: “Syria, give us Cüneyt and Beshar.” Dedeoğlu said the activities of the media organizations would continue until both are released.