Wife and children of Calgary imam await word from patriarch imprisoned in Turkey
Rumeysa Hanci and her two young sons anxiously await an update on the well-being of her husband after the incomplete family, fractured by an undisclosed accusation, returned to Canada.
“We’re a really happy family,” said Rumeysa. “We spend so much time together. (My husband) spends so much time with his kids.”
Davud Hanci, a Calgary imam who works in institutions and has dual citizenship, recently travelled alongside his wife and children to their native Turkey in order to visit his father who was in poor health.
‘We were planning to go next year to Turkey to visit our families,” explained Rumeysa. “Because my father-in-law, he got so sick, and the doctors were telling that he has maybe limited time left, we changed our minds.”
During a visit with Rumeysa’s uncle on the evening of July 23 in a Turkish village, Rumeysa’s brother-in-law called the family and informed them of the fact the authorities wanted to question Davud. It is believed to be in connection with Turkey’s unsuccessful coup.
“(Davud) went to city hall to meet with the police officers with his brothers," recalled Rumeysa.
Concerned for her husband’s safety, Rumeysa says she called her sister in Toronto who notified Canadian Global Affairs. Davud’s brother returned to the home stating police had demanded Davud’s passport and cell phone, and Rumeysa delivered the items to police.
Rumeysa says she was told she would be able to visit her husband at the detention centre but the officials turned her away. She was able to see Davud through the fence and he reassured his wife that he was okay. “He looked tired.”
Days later, representatives from the Canadian Embassy visited Rumeysa in the village. The members attempted to meet with Davud in the detention centre but their efforts were refused.
On August 9, Davud and Rumeysa’s wedding anniversary, Rumeysa and her boys, nine-year-old Vedat and eight-year-old Cemil, returned to Canada without Davud.
The Hanci family has yet to receive an explanation of the accusations against Davud and have been told he has been transferred to a prison in Kocaeli province.
“We don’t know the statement, the accusation, exactly because a lawyer couldn’t talk to him. We don’t know all the details,” explained Rumeysa. “The only thing we hear is from (Turkish) media and we don’t know if it’s true or not.”
Davud’s brother attempted to visit Davud and was told the prisoner was not permitted visitors or phone calls until his court date. The Hanci family has not been informed of Davud’s scheduled day in court.
Rumeysa says her children and her faith are the source of her strength during these difficult times and she remains optimistic Davud will soon return home.
“I have a lot of faith in the Canadian government that they will do their best with their power to bring him home safely.”
If offered a chance to contact her incarcerated husband, Rumeysa says her message would be brief. “We love him, we miss him and we want him back. Come back safely as soon as possible.”
“I just miss that happiness.”
Turkish media reports allege Calgary’s Davud Hanci is Halis Hanci, a resident of Pennsylvania who is believed to be an associate of the man who allegedly spearheaded the coup attempt.
Davud Hanci’s friends and family believe Hanci’s incarceration was the result of mistaken identity.
With files from CTV’s Kathy Le