Freed Turkish journalist held captive in Damascus faces death threats

August 12, 2012, Sunday/ 16:42:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

A Turkish journalist who was held captive in a cell in Damascus for two months by the Syrian regime before being released is receiving constant threats by some groups in Turkey that are affiliated with the Syrian intelligence, Turkish media outlets reported on Sunday.

Adem Özköse, a writer for Turkey's Milat newspaper, has received threatening messages since his release, the Milat daily reported on Sunday. According to the report, some circles, which are extensions of the Syrian intelligence agency, threatened the journalist, who was freed after two months in captivity.

The daily reported that these groups in Turkey are uneasy with the fact that Özköse has recounted his experience as a captive in Syria in various occasions across Turkey.

Özköse and freelance cameraman Hamit Coşkun reportedly went missing in early March. The two had been captured by armed militia in the northern province of Idlib and were transferred to Damascus. Özköse said he was intensely interrogated while blindfolded by Syrian authorities who held guns to his head.

“Those who captured me and my friend Hamit do not want me to tell others what I saw. They constantly send threats. ‘If you don't shut up, we will hurt you and your family.' The SANA [official news agency of Syrian state] and some other news agencies affiliated with Iran in Turkey have made me a target by spreading distorted and misinformed news,” Özköse said, speaking to Milat.

He added he would never remain silent, whatever the cost. However, he stated that those circles would be responsible should anything untoward happen to him.

Özköse recounted that at the beginning, some Syrian security officials had threatened him by sending death threats, telling him they were so powerful that they could even operate in Turkey via proxies.

Özköse will file a case with an Ankara prosecutor about the death threats in the coming days.

He claimed that there are some people in Turkey who work for the Syrian intelligence. “These people act in coordination with the Syrian and Iranian intelligence, they strive to create a positive public opinion about the situation in Syria,” Özköse said.

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