Turkish songs on radio gave us strength: Kidnapped pilots
ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Akpınar and Ağca said they would listen to a Turkish radio that would play Turkish songs, providing them with encouragement and strength. Daily News Photo / Emrah GürelTurkish pilots Murat Akpınar and Murat Ağca, who were released from Lebanese captivity late on Oct. 19, have related details of their two months as hostages, noting that the listening to Turkish radio provided them strength during their ordeal.
Akpınar and Ağca said they would listen to a Turkish radio that would play Turkish songs, providing them with encouragement and strength.
The pilots were brought to Istanbul after spending 71 days in captivity, receiving a hero’s welcome upon their arrival at Atatürk Airport, where they were greeted by a series of high-ranking figures, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Akpınar said neither of them was subjected to any ill-treatment while they were in captivity.
Their return became possible after nine Lebanese Shiite pilgrims who were kidnapped in northern Syria last year were released. The pilots’ kidnappers said they had targeted the Turks to force Ankara to use its weight with Syrian rebels to secure the release of the pilgrims.
“The first month was very difficult. We were transferred eight times; each time it was as if it was a new kidnapping. Right after the abduction, we were brought somewhere very close to the airport. We could hear the noise of the planes,” Akpınar said, adding that they tried to get along well with their kidnappers.
“We chose to have a good understanding with them. And we did, so much that one of our [kidnappers] even decided to call his new son Murat,” Akpınar said.
Akpınar said an operation would have been a very poor decision as more than 100 people were guarding them. “One hundred people could have been killed if an operation had been conducted. We thank [Turkish officials]; we knew that they would not abandon us there.”
The pilots told Anadolu Agency that it took 60 days for the kidnappers to find silverware, which ended a long period of eating by hand.
“It took us 60 days to teach them about forks. They brought us forks eventually, and we managed to stop eating with our hands,” Akpınar said, adding that he and Ağca would go up to the roof and write poetry together to pass time.
The Turkish pilots abducted in Beirut two months ago returned to Turkey after being handed over to Turkish authorities in Lebanon. A Qatari plane carrying them landed at Istanbul Atatürk Airport on Oct. 19 at 11:05 p.m.