Human rights activists stage rally to support missing Turkish journalists

April 15, 2012, Sunday/ 17:39:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Turkish human rights activists gathered in front of Turkey’s Foreign Ministry in a rally on Saturday to demand that senior Turkish officials make stronger efforts to bring back two Turkish journalists who have been missing in Syria since early March.

“We urge Turkish officials to make more serious efforts regarding the fate of our friends [the missing Turkish journalists],” Soner Kartal, spokesman for the Ankara Platform on Freedom of Belief, said on Saturday, speaking on behalf of the people attending the rally. Recalling the chaos in Syria, Kartal expressed concern about the lack of available information regarding the conditions in which the missing journalists are living. “We have no idea what kind of difficult situation they are in, so we will stay up all night in front of Turkey’s Foreign Ministry to share their [the missing journalists’] pain,” Kartal said.

Adem Özköse, a reporter from the İstanbul-based Gerçek Hayat magazine and the Milat daily, arrived with Hamit Coşkun, a cameraman, in Syria on March 5. They were last heard from on March 10. With hopes fading over the safety of the two missing Turkish journalists, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu assured the family of one of the journalists that as of March 21 they were alive and safe. According to the information released by diplomatic sources, Davutoğlu had a telephone meeting with the leaders of the rally while he was attending an international meeting for the Iran nuclear talks that was held on Saturday in Istanbul.

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