Militant Kurds admit kidnapping Turkish MP
Kurdish militants have said they were behind the kidnapping of a Turkish MP and that increased military operations after his abduction at the weekend were putting his life at risk.
Clashes between the army and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is waging an armed campaign for autonomy in south-eastern Turkey, have risen sharply in recent weeks ahead of tomorrow’s 28th anniversary of the start of the conflict.
PKK fighters seized Huseyin Aygun of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Sunday on a road in the Ovacik district of Tunceli province, which he represents in parliament, the local governor’s office said.
Mr Aygun “was detained by our guerrillas,” Firat News, a website close to the PKK, cited the group’s leadership as saying in a statement. It said the Turkish army launched operations in the Ahponos Valley in Ovacik after Aygun’s kidnapping.
“This operation is placing Huseyin Aygun’s life in danger. The CHP and the public must be aware of this, and operations must be halted,” the statement said, according to Firat.
It was not clear if the statement meant Mr Aygun’s life was at risk because he might get killed in clashes or that the PKK was threatening to kill him if the army did not back off.
Security sources said about 200 specially trained soldiers were in the valley in an effort to rescue Mr Aygun.
While the rebels have previously kidnapped soldiers, local politicians and tourists, this is the first time they have kidnapped an MP. Most hostages have been released without harm.
Haluk Koc, a CHP MP, yesterday criticised the government’s record on combating the PKK.
“The PKK is holding 26 citizens, including state officials. It has killed 70 Turkish soldiers in the last three months,” he said. “Yet the prime minister says everything’s under control.”
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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