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    'They released us when we said we were Sunni'

    Hürriyet Haber
    19 Ocak 2006 - 09:24Son Güncelleme : 19 Ocak 2006 - 09:24

    The 3 Turkish parachutists who had been kidnapped by an Afghan terror group in late December were released two days ago by members of the Cundallah organization in Tehran. According to Avni Ozan, Yurdaer Etike, and Serdar Dunra, the main reason for their release without harm was the fact that they were Turkish, Muslim, and most importantly, Sunni.

    In a telephone conversation with a Hurriyet reporter, Ozan described his group's capture on December 24 as taking place as follows:
     
    "We were on the road near the border with Pakistan. A Toyota pick-up truck cut us off on the road. There were 4 people inside. They threatened us with guns, and forced us to get into their truck. We refused at first, and they fired, hitting near our feet. We saw that there was no other option, and got into the Toyota, leaving our vehicle behind."
     
    Left Istanbul December 1 for road journey towards Nepal
     
    The group of 3 Turkish parachutists had left Istanbul on December 1, for a land journey towards Nepal for parachuting purposes. Explaining the nature of the group which kidnapped them, Ozan said: "They were a group who said that the Iranian government was putting pressure on them (as Sunnis). They also claimed that there money and vehicles had been taken, and it was for this reason that they were stopping people on the road. Actually, they had thought we were British or German at first, which is why they kidnapped us."
     
    According to Avni Ozan, efforts to obtain their release were carried out by not only Ankara, but by the Tehran government. The 3 Turkish parachutists arrived in Istanbul yesterday via a free Turkish Airlines flight from Tehran.
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