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