Gov’t denies reports on captured soldiers

Gov’t denies reports on captured soldiers

Gov’t denies reports on captured soldiers

PM Davutoğlu denies allegations that Turkish soldiers are captured in Syria. AA photo

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu strictly denied Jan. 4 reports suggesting that members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) were captured in Syria and said the unverified reports from abroad are aiming to “manipulate.”

“There is no single Turkish officer in Syria. We find it odd that these reports continue despite a clear denial by the General Staff. But what we find odder is the fact that the main opposition party is making statements with parliamentary questions that would leave Turkey in a difficult situation in the international field. All of these speculations are aimed at manipulating both the public opinion in the country and the public opinion abroad,” Davutoğlu said in response to questions at a joint press conference following talks with Singapore’s Foreign Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam.

Question to PM

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Metin Lütfi Baydar has asked whether Turkish officers were caught in Syria by government forces while aiding the rebel Free Syrian Army.

“It’s being alleged that Capt. Yasin K., Lt. Sinan T., Lt. Fuat Y., Lt. Mustafa H., 3rd Lt. Hasan G., Tarık T., İbrahim M., Yusuf C., Murat Y. and Harun M. were captured in Syria while aiding the Free Syrian Army. Are these reports true?” Baydar asked Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a parliamentary question published on Jan. 2.

However, Baydar has said he sent his questions to Erdoğan on Dec. 24, a whole week before Syrian daily al-Watan reported on Dec. 31 that four Turkish pilots had been caught trying to sneak into a military airport near Aleppo.

The Turkish General Staff denied the report on the same day in an official statement, while officials from the Turkish Foreign Ministry also denied the allegations.

Baydar also called on the prime minister to disclose whether any Turkish officials had recently been killed in turmoil-hit Syria.

Meanwhile, Turkish daily Yurt newspaper disclosed Jan. 4 the names and ranks of Turkish pilots who were allegedly captured by Syrian authorities while attempting to sneak into a military airport near Aleppo.