Kidnapped Turkish pilots appear on TV

Lebanese TV shows video of two Turkish Airlines pilots held in Lebanon since early August.

    Murat Akpinar (left) and Murat Agca (right) were kidnapped on August 9 in Beirut [AFP]
    Murat Akpinar (left) and Murat Agca (right) were kidnapped on August 9 in Beirut [AFP]

    Two kidnapped Turkish pilots have appeared in a video broadcast by Lebanese television channel LBC, saying they wished they could be at home.

    Murat Akpinar and Murat Agca, both Turkish Airlines employees who were kidnapped on Beirut's airport road on August 9, said they were in good health, but appeared pale and nervous.

    Both said in English they wanted to be with their families for Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday that began on Tuesday in most of the Islamic world.

    "My name is Murat Akpinar, today is 14th October 2013, there is only one day before Bayram (Eid). I would like to be at my home. I am fine," said Akpinar.

    "My name is Murat Agca. Today is the 14th of October, which is the day before Bayram," added Agca.

    "I am safe and sound. I miss my family, my children and my country."

    The 32-second recording, filmed against a plain wall, gave no indication of their whereabouts.

    The video appeared to have been filmed on Monday, but was broadcast for the first time on Tuesday, as much of the Islamic world began celebrating the holiday.

    On August 30, shortly after their kidnap, an audio recording purportedly of the two men was released.

    In it, the men said they were in good health and were waiting for Turkey to secure their release.

    The pilots' kidnapping was claimed by a previously unknown group, the Zuwwar Imam Ali al-Rida.

    The group demanded Ankara use its influence over the Syrian opposition to win the release of nine Lebanese Shias being held by Syrian rebels.

    The Lebanese went missing in the northern Syrian town of Aazaz in May 2012.

    Their relatives have repeatedly threatened Turkish interests in Lebanon, accusing Ankara of failing to put enough pressure on the Syrian opposition.

    SOURCE: AFP


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