Turkey's Media Association, a journalists and press freedoms group, has called on the Syrian administration to immediately release two Turkish journalists currently held in Syria.
“We are calling on the Damascus administration to immediately release the journalists, who have no other aim than witnessing the latest developments in Syria and informing the public, and to let them be reunited with their families,” the association said in a press statement released on Friday.
The Media Association has also criticized tight media restrictions in place in Syria since the beginning of a public uprising in February of last year. “While we are making this call on the Syrian administration, we also call on international professional organizations to pressure Damascus to allow free media into Syria,” the statement said.
The two journalists, writer Adem Özköse of Turkey's Milat daily and freelance cameraman Hamit Coşkun, were detained while covering the Syrian uprising two months ago. Turkey's Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH), which has been involved in negotiations in Damascus to secure the two men's release, published photos earlier this week of the journalists, who appeared to be in good health. İHH officials met with the two men in Damascus after negotiations with Syrian and Iranian officials.
News reports said late on Thursday that the Iranian Embassy in Ankara had said the two Turkish journalists will be released in a few days.
The Media Association thanked the İHH for its “humanitarian diplomatic efforts” to secure the release of the journalists. “We, as Turkish journalists, calls on the Syrian administration no to foil these efforts and to let free press work to allow the people of the world to learn of the realities [in Syria],” the association added.