PKK kills Turk­ish soldier, abducts cus­toms of­fi­cials as hostages: army

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK) mil­i­tants on Sun­day killed a Turk­ish soldier in an at­tack in eastern Tur­key as it held a dozen cus­toms of­fi­cials hostage, the army said.

Eleven cus­toms of­fi­cials and their driver have been miss­ing for two days af­ter van­ish­ing in the Van re­gion of eastern Tur­key on the bor­der with Iran.

There had been un­cer­tainty over their fate but the army con­firmed Sun­day they had been ab­ducted at the Kapikoy bor­der cross­ing with Iran by the “Sep­a­ratist Terror Or­ga­ni­za­tion,” its usual phrase for the PKK, to which it never refers by name.

Ab­duc­tions by the PKK are rel­a­tively com­mon and usu­ally end peace­fully. But there were no fur­ther de­tails over the sit­u­a­tion of the cus­toms of­fi­cials.

In a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent, one soldier was killed and three oth­ers wounded in clashes with PKK mil­i­tants in the south­east­ern Di­yarbakir re­gion, the army said.

The clashes erupted just af­ter dawn when PKK mil­i­tants at­tacked a de­tach­ment of sol­diers guard­ing a hy­dro-elec­tric dam with rock­ets and long-range gun­fire in the Kulp dis­trict of Di­yarbakir.

“In the re­sult­ing clashes ... one brave soldier was killed and three wounded,” it said, adding a ground and air op­er­a­tion was now in progress to “neu­tral­ize” the ter­ror­ists be­hind the at­tack.

The PKK has been stag­ing daily at­tacks against the Turk­ish armed forces as the mil­i­tary keeps up air raids and mil­i­tary oper­a­tions against its strongholds in south­east Tur­key as well as north­ern Iraq.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures pub­lished Satur­day by the state-run Ana­to­lia news agency be­fore the latest in­ci­dents, 812 PKK mil­i­tants have been killed in the cam­paign while 56 mem­bers of the Turk­ish se­cu­rity forces have lost their lives.

It is not pos­si­ble to in­de­pen­dently ver­ify the death toll for PKK mil­i­tants. Turk­ish of­fi­cials have ve­he­mently de­nied claims that civil­ians have also been tar­geted.

Kur­dish Leader Calls on PKK to Halt Vi­o­lence ‘with­out if or buts’

The leader of Tur­key’s main pro- Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal party on Satur­day called on Kur­dish mil­i­tants to halt a month of vi­o­lence against the se­cu­rity forces “with­out if or buts.”

The com­ments were t he clear­est call yet from Se­la­hat­tin Demir­tas — the charis­matic young leader of the Peo­ples’ Demo­cratic Party (HDP) — for the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party ( PKK) to agree an un­con­di­tional cease- ire.

“The PKK has to stop its armed at­tacks and bomb­ings in the towns and the moun­tains with­out ifs or buts,” the Do­gan news agency quoted Demir­tas, 42, as say­ing in a speech in the western city of Izmir.

“There is no al­ter­na­tive for us,” said Demir­tas. “More deaths of Kurds, Turks, sol­diers, gueril­las and po­lice must be stopped.”


Res­tau­rant wait­resses watch a pop­u­lar North Korean car­toon movie “The Boy Gen­eral” at a ho­tel in Py­ongyang, North Korea, Sun­day, Aug. 23.

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