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Government can't reach Canadians detained in connection with Turkish coup

Global Affairs Canada will not name the two Canadians, citing privacy laws, but friends and family have identified them as Davud Hanci and Ilhan Erdem.

Friends and family have identified the Canadians as Davud Hanci, Ilhan Erdem

Two Canadian citizens have been arrested in Turkey for links to the attempted military coup. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)

Canadian diplomats in Turkey have not been able to meet with two Turkish Canadians arrested and detained in connection with a failed coup in that country earlier this month.

Global Affairs Canada spokesman Francois Lasalle says Canadian consular officials are in contact with Turkish authorities and are providing consular assistance to the family.

Global Affairs Canada will not name the two Canadians, citing privacy laws, but friends and family have identified them as Davud Hanci and Ilhan Erdem.

Hanci lives and works in Calgary, while Erdem lived in Toronto and Ottawa before returning to Turkey. Both men are dual nationals who were arrested this month. 

The Anatolian Heritage Federation in Ottawa says Ilhan Erdem was arrested at at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.

It cites Turkish media as reporting Erdem is accused of leading the Hizmet movement in Canada.

The Hizmet movement, also known as the Gulen movement, is described as a global network based on the teachings of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a critic and former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The federation says, however, that Erdem's beliefs are "simply aligned with those of Hizmet" and was arrested only because Erdogan "continues to target all detractors ... including peaceful Hizmet participants."

No contact

Nurcan Topcuolgu, a family friend and a member of the federation, says Erdem was detained when he and his wife tried boarding a flight to Canada on Monday. She says Erdem, his wife and two children were planning a family vacation in Ottawa.

Another friend, Vusal Babashov, told CBC News that he spoke to Erdem's wife. She is still in Turkey and is working with the Canadian consulate to try to get back to Canada.

Both Topcuolgu and Babashov said Erdem lived in Ottawa, but has been working as an education consultant in Turkey for the last three years. Babashov said Erdem had been working as in a similar job when he lived in Ottawa, as well.

Topcuolgu said Erdem had worked as an imam in Ottawa.

Calgary man also detained 

Meanwhile, there was still no concrete word on why a Calgary man being detained in Turkey has been arrested, amid media reports that he's accused of being a coup plotter.

Davud Hanci, an imam who provides spiritual counselling to prisoners, is apparently being held on accusations he was involved in the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.

Pictures that had circulated in Turkish media show a man purported to be Hanci with Gulen.

Hanci was allowed to see his wife on Monday, but the visit was too short to glean much information.

With files from CBC News

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