TORONTO — The family of a Canadian man they say is being held in Turkey on accusations he was a leader of the failed July 15 military coup is trying to get Davud Hanci's wife and children out of the country.
The family says Hanci was detained and his name has appeared in Turkish media in connection with the coup attempt.
Selman Durmus, the brother of Hanci's wife Rumeysa Hanci, says she called her family in Toronto as her husband was being arrested.
Durmus last spoke to his sister Sunday morning and says she isn't being held, but he and his family are concerned for her and her two young sons' safety, and want to bring them back to Canada.
Hanci, who lives in Calgary and works as an imam for Correctional Service Canada and Alberta correctional services, went to Turkey for a holiday with his wife and children on July 7.
Durmus says the family travelled to the Turkish city of Trabzon to visit Hanci's ailing father. He says his sister is a dual Canadian-Turkish citizen, and the couple's sons were born in Canada.
"As far as we know, at the moment she is OK. But she does feel in danger," he said.
Turkish media reports claim Hanci — who a family friend says is a dual citizen of Canada and Turkey — is from Pennsylvania and was working for U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a critic and former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Durmus said Sunday.
Durmus said he watched Turkish media reports that called Hanci "the right-hand man" of Fethullah Gulen.
"Media sources are saying 'the mastermind of the coup attack.' ... This guy is just a regular guy. He just went to visit his father. None of the things that they're claiming make any sense," he said.
Durmus said the family believes someone may have reported Hanci as being involved in the coup, and his sister told him Hanci's cellphone and his Canadian passport were confiscated during the arrest.
"We're trying to sort things out because the lives of the kids and the whole family is in danger right now," he said. "Whoever reports the followers of Fethullah Gulen ... they're attacking innocent people."
A spokeswoman for Global Affairs said in an email Saturday night that the department is "aware of a Canadian dual-citizen detained in Turkey" and that Canadian consular officials are standing ready to assist if needed.
Turkey has imposed a three-month state of emergency and detained or dismissed tens of thousands of people in the military, the judiciary, the education system and other institutions.
Turkish leaders allege that supporters of Gulen infiltrated state agencies and groomed loyalists in a vast network of private schools as part of an elaborate, long-term plan to take over the country.
Turkey announced Saturday it had seized more than 2,250 social, educational or health care institutions and facilities that it claims pose a threat to national security.
Gulen has denied any knowledge of the attempted coup.
Madeline Smith, The Canadian Press