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Turkish citizens rescued from Libya are reunited with their families

Two Turkish citizens detained by Haftar’s forces in the Libyan city of Sirte were rescued through a collaboration of the Turkish Consulate in Misrata, IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation and the Misrata Red Crescent. Yusuf Gürün and Vahit Kiraz landed at the Istanbul Airport at 02.30 on a Tripoli-Istanbul flight. They were welcomed by IHH officials. There were emotional moments at the airport when the two Turkish citizens that were detained in Libya for almost eight months landed. Both of them then traveled to Adana on the first plane available to reunite with their families.

This was a long, challenging process

Explaining that Gürün and Kiraz were extremely happy to be reunited with their families, IHH Diplomacy Coordinator Taner Altun said, “Thankfully, they returned safe and sound. May Allah prevent this from happening again. This was a long, challenging process. We faced many difficulties. When they were leaving Sirte they faced problems for a week. We put up great efforts for them to be released.” Altun, who thanked the Turkish Consul General in Misrata Gürkan Bey, officials and Branch Chairman of the Libyan Red Crescent in Misrata Necip Bey and other Libyans that helped in this process, added, “May Allah prevent others from experiencing this in the future.”

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There were emotional moments when Vahit Kiraz was reunited with his family. Kiraz, who said it would take months to explain their experiences, added, “You cannot explain the fight between life and death, you experience it. At that moment you just say your last prayers. We were rescued by IHH, the Embassy, the Consulate, our country and the Libyan Misrata Red Crescent. They all have made great efforts. I was imprisoned and unable to see the sun for almost eight months. There were nine of us and four of us were released. The other four are still in detention. Their families are waiting for them in tears. The government is monitoring the process.”

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We thank Turkey

Yusuf Gürün, who explained that they were abducted while they were working said, “We didn’t even realize what happened. How can I even begin to explain the torture or the beatings? As they say, you cannot explain it, but you have to experience this to understand what we suffered. We took an opportunity and escaped, but we were caught again. We were confined to cells, for six to seven months it was like hell. The last five days were particularly the worst.”

In response to the question “Did you expect to be rescued?” Gürün replied, “It seemed impossible. May Allah reward the Misrata Consul General Gürken Bey, IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation Coordinator Taner Bey, the Misrata Red Crescent Branch and all those who helped to find us.”  

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