PKK militant kidnap 15 workers in southern Turkey: Turkish media
Iran Press TV
Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:49PM
Militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have attacked a major construction site in Turkey's southeastern province of Şırnak, kidnapping 15 workers and setting ablaze some machinery there, Turkish media say.
According to media reports on Saturday, the workers were kidnapped during an attack near a thermal power plant in Silopi district.
However, a report that appeared later on the website of Turkish daily Today's Zaman said the PKK elements had released the 15 workers. It said three other hostages, who had been abducted in an attack in the eastern city of Erzurum late on Friday, had also been freed.
This is while a police officer identified as Vedat Kaya is reportedly still held by the suspected PKK militants. The officer was taken hostage on Friday after suspected PKK members assaulted his vehicle while he was on patrol in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
PKK launched a similar assault on Silopi power plant four days ago, taking two workers hostage, although they were released hours later. The worksite was the target of a heavy attack on August 25, 2014, when the PKK militants fired rounds of rocket-propelled grenades at the plant, injuring a security staffer there.
Iraq Kurds slam Turkey strikes
As part of Anakra's military campaign against the PKK, Turkish fighter jets also crossed the Iraqi border and pounded PKK positions in the north of the Arab country. Turkey's ground forces have also carried out artillery attacks on PKK militants in northern Iraq.
According to a statement by the leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan on Saturday, Kurdish regional President Masoud Barzani spoke to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu on the telephone and 'expressed his displeasure with the dangerous level the situation has reached.'
'He (Barzani) requested that the issue not be escalated to that level because peace is the only way to solve problems and years of negotiations are better than one hour of war,' the statement added.
Medical source said the Friday strikes wounded two civilians.
Truce no more
The attacks were followed by an announcement from the PKK that declared the group will no longer uphold a shaky peace agreement with Ankara.
"The truce has no meaning anymore after these intense air strikes by the occupant Turkish army," the PKK said in a statement on Saturday.
Other reports said the militant group has ordered its members along the Turkish border on high alert.
This came as Davutoglu said his government will continue to negotiate with the PKK.
In March 2013, Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned PKK leader, declared a historic ceasefire following months of negotiations with the Turkish government. In return, the PKK demanded amendments to the penal code and electoral laws as well as the right to education in Kurdish language and a degree of regional autonomy.
The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead.
Turkey's hasty scrambling of jets into Iraq and Syria came after at least 32 people were killed in a massive "terrorist" explosion in the southwestern Turkish town of Suruc earlier in the week. The attack was attributed to the ISIL, a terrorist group which controls parts of Iraq and Syria.
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