Turkey ‘working’ for pilgrims
ANKARATurkey is continuing to make every effort to secure the release of Lebanese pilgrims being held by suspected Syrian rebels near Syria’s border with Turkey, diplomatic officials have said, dismissing reports that Ankara is indifferent to the captives’ plight.
“There is a perception that there is something that Turkey can do but is not doing. They believe that we aren’t exerting sufficient efforts. They believe that we are not focusing on the issue, but we are doing our best,” Turkish Ambassador to Lebanon İnan Özyıldız recently told Anatolia news agency.
Özyıldız made the announcement after relatives of the hostages launched a campaign Jan. 2 to press Ankara to help secure their release. The 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims were kidnapped May 2012, in Aleppo. “There is no reaction against Turkey by the Lebanese government or officials, but families of the pilgrims are exhibiting a reaction from time to time by claiming that ‘Turkey has not rescued the pilgrims despite having the power to do so,’” Özyıldız said.