Fate of Kidnapped Turkish Pilots in Lebanon Still Unknown
The fate of two Turkish Airlines pilots, Murat Akpınar and Murat Ağca, who were kidnapped August 9 as they left Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (OLBA), is still unknown. The pair was abducted shortly after the completion of a flight to the Lebanese capital.
The only communication has been from a group that claims to be aligned with Syrian rebels demanding that Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu use his influence to obtain the release of a number of Lebanese Shiites who were themselves kidnapped in Syria in May last year.
A delegation from Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization met Lebanese interior minister Marwan Charbel on August 14 to step up efforts to save the pair.
“We are deeply concerned about our colleagues and closely engaged with their situation,” a Turkish Airline Pilots Association spokesman told AIN. “The Lebanese and the Turkish ministers of foreign affairs are handling this issue. We are also closely monitoring developments on this subject with the Turkish press spokesman of foreign affairs. This is a delicate situation; therefore, for the safety of our colleagues we cannot provide any further information. We have been working with great precision and are making every effort to ensure our colleagues return to their homes in good health and to rejoin their families and us.”