PKK releases 4 abducted Turkish soldiers

PKK releases 4 abducted Turkish soldiers
Mon Dec 9, 2013 11:33:47

Four Turkish soldiers kidnapped by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants have been released, a report says.

The abductees were released early on Monday after Kurdish politicians intervened on their behalf, Turkish security sources told Reuters.

PKK militants kidnapped the two officers and two sergeants on Sunday as they were on patrol in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir.

The sources said the militants had set up a roadblock on a country road in the Lice area of Diyarbakir and checked the identity cards of people driving through.

Tensions have been high in the region after two protesters were killed on December 6 during confrontation with police in the town of Yuksekova in Hakkari Province.

The two Kurds, aged 34 and 32, died in skirmishes triggered by claims that PKK members’ graves had been destroyed.

On Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the abductions as well as the Hakkari incidents as efforts aimed at derailing the ongoing peace process between Ankara and the PKK.

“These are actions perpetrated by those who want to hurt the process. The same way the Hakkari incidents also were steps undertaken and actions made by those wanted to damage the process. This is a similar event,” said Erdogan.

The Turkish prime minister pledged to press ahead with the peace “process under any circumstances, without falling into this trap.”

Ankara started peace negotiations with the PKK in October 2012, which led to a ceasefire in March. Following the ceasefire, the PKK fighters started to return to their strongholds in northern Iraq in May.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s. The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people.


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