Family of Turkish worker held in Libya awaits return


The family of Nurettin Çalık, a Turkish worker kidnapped in Libya nearly a year ago, is patiently awaiting good news of his return from authorities.

Nurettin Çalık is among five Turkish workers who were kidnapped by forces loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar nearly a year ago, according to his brother Mehmet Çalık who spoke to Anadolu Agency.

His family heard from Nurettin Çalık last in February 2020, Mehmet Çalık said. "My older brother went [to Libya] to earn money, he isn't guilty of anything. He went there to pay his debts but unfortunately, he's now arrested [by Haftar forces].

"We were told by those who were kept in the same ward as him that they were tortured and getting sick a lot. Perhaps he is ill now and we don't know, his friends who were able to come back said they had gotten scabies in prison because they were unable to clean themselves."

He said his brother, who was a baklava baker, was kidnapped by Haftar's militias because of his nationality.

"He was detained because he's Turkish, he isn't guilty of anything. We ask all the authorities to bring my brother back," he pleaded.

Nurettin Çalık's sister Rukiye Kose also told Anadolu Agency that during her last conversation with her brother, he was distressed and wanted to return to Turkey at once.

"I believe they couldn't find a way [to return]. Then, we found out they were taken from the shop where they worked [in Libya] because they were Turkish," she recounted.

Expressing their grave sorrow, Kose said their mother and father did not ask about their brother anymore "as they cannot bear the sadness."

"We're extremely upset [...] We think about him constantly. We want him to return as soon as possible. The last time we talked was when I was in our village and made a video call with my mother. My mother was crying, and my brother was crying too. We couldn't speak to each other after that."

Libya has been plagued by chaos since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Based in Tripoli and currently led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, the Government of National Accord was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement have failed due to a military offensive by Haftar.

Al-Sarraj's government has been battling Haftar's militias since April 2019 in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

Amid the civil war in the country, a total of seven Turkish workers were illegally kept in Libya's Benghazi by Haftar forces.

Out of the seven workers, two of them were handed to Turkish authorities in Misrata on Oct. 2, 2020. However, five other Turkish workers still remain detained by Haftar forces in Libya.

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