FM dismisses hostage swap, vows to work more to free all abductees

FM dismisses hostage swap, vows to work more to free all abductees

FM dismisses hostage swap, vows to work more to free all abductees

Hussein Omar (L), disembarks from a plane upon his arrival at Beirut airport from Turkey following his release.

The release of one of the 11 abducted Lebanese should not be linked with Turkey’s efforts to release a kidnapped Turkish businessman in Lebanon, the foreign minister has said, dismissing reports that depicted the recent development as a hostage swap. 

“We don’t see any connection between this development [the release of Hussein Al Omar] and the abduction of two Turkish citizens [in Lebanon]. Turkey is not a part of this crisis,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters late Saturday while commenting on Omar’s release by the Syrian groups which had kidnapped a group of 11 Shiite pilgrims in May. Turkey had exerted a great effort for their release from the very beginning but could not inspire a solution. 

Kidnappings later became more frequent in both Syria and Lebanon with rival groups retaliating after each abduction. Recently two Turkish citizens were kidnapped in Syria by a powerful Lebanese clan who demanded the release of their relative who was kidnapped in Syria. 

“We will do everything we can for the release of other [kidnapped] Lebanese,” Davutoğlu said, adding that Turkey has always regarded the issue as a humanitarian one. 

Recalling that Turkey was in close communication with Lebanese officials over kidnapped Turks, Davutoğlu said he made it clear to his counterparts that Turkey will never view the issue as a hostage swap. “In Syria, there is no public order. A Turkish journalist, Cüneyt Ünal, has been abducted in Syria. It is not only Iranians and Lebanese that have been victims of such kidnappings, because of the anarchy present due to lack of public order, but public order exists in Lebanon.”

Whatever the reason is, Davutoğlu continued, Turkey will never accept the kidnapping of its citizens.