Missing journalist’s wife asks al-Assad about her husband’s fate

Missing journalist’s wife asks al-Assad about her husband’s fate

Missing journalist’s wife asks al-Assad about her husband’s fate

‘If I knew the language, I would head to Syria and search for my husband with my own efforts, despite all the dangers,’ says Bashar al-Kadumi’s wife. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Arzu Kadumi, the wife of Palestinian journalist Bashar Kadumi who has been missing for 180 days, has demanded that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad provide information about the condition of her husband. 

Arzu Kadumi believes they are considered second-class citizens as they are Palestinian, and that Turkey is not fulfilling its requirements on the matter. 

She met Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace in December 2012, asking for his help in securing the return of her husband. She is also staging a demonstration in front of the Syria Consulate building in Istanbul every Tuesday. 

“I am only asking for information. Assuming that you do not have any information is not persuasive, as long as my husband did not vanish in the air,” Arzu Kadumi told the Hürriyet Daily News, addressing the Syrian authorities. 

“Al-Assad’s assistant welcomed the [CHP] delegation. They let everyone pass the border except for me. They said al-Assad had examined the names in the delegation but omitted my name from the list. They also said my husband was a spy who had some connections with Israel. The delegation had promised to bring back both Cüneyt and Bashar, but they were unable to keep this promise and did not finish the process they started,” Kadumi said. 

“My husband is a journalist who was born in Jerusalem. He is not a spy,” she said. “Palestinians look up to Syria. They put a Syrian flag next to every Palestinian flag. What kind of a disloyalty is this? So, are the thousands of Palestinians living in Jerusalem also spies? I am very sad that my husband is being treated like an Israel spy,” she added. 

Kadumi also said her husband had lived in Turkey for 20 years, adding that the Turkish authorities were not giving them the necessary support. “We are treated like second-class citizens. I do not want to make such a comparison, but Cüneyt Ünal is a citizen of the Turkish Republic, which strongly backs him. But there is no one who backs Bashar,” she said. 

When asked whether she was hopeful about her meeting with Erdoğan, she said, “During our meeting, he said there were some problems between Turkey and Syria, so the attempts could be made through Iran. He gave orders to his counselors for that. However, no progress has been achieved for the last two months,” Kadumi said. “I don’t speak Arabic. If I knew the language, I would head to Syria and search for my husband with my own efforts, despite all the dangers and the possibility of being arrested.”

She said she was addressing Bashar al-Assad as a mother and a wife. “May God give him mercy. I only expect al-Assad to tell me whether my husband is dead or alive,” Kadumi said. 

In response to these statements, CHP deputy chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu said he did not think they were being treated like second-class citizens because Bashar was of Palestinian origin. “I witnessed how hard my colleagues from the CHP struggled to give humanitarian support to Bashar Kadumi. But we must keep in mind that no data was obtained about his condition,” Tanrıkulu told the Daily News on the phone.

“Palestinian citizenship is not inferior to Turkish citizenship. We struggled for Kadumi’s handover as hard as Cüneyt Ünal’s,” Tanrıkulu said. 

Ünal and Kadumi, both working for the U.S. based al-Hurra TV, were caught up in the fighting in Aleppo on Aug. 20 that killed Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto. Ünal was handed over to a delegation formed by CHP members on Nov. 18, but no information was obtained on Bashar’s fate.