4 kidnapped Turkish soldiers released

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-12-9 15:50:21

Militants of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) released on Monday four Turkish soldiers who were kidnapped in southeastern Turkey on Sunday evening, private Dogan news agency reported.

The freed four Turkish soldiers were sent to the headquarters of the Turkish security forces in the region, according to the report.

A group of PKK militants set up a checkpoint near Lice town in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir on Sunday, the report said, adding two sergeants and two lieutenants were forced out of their vehicle, Turkish media reported.

The abduction came two days after two Kurdish protesters were killed by police during their demonstration in the southeastern province of Hakkari.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Sunday night accused the PKK rebels of kidnapping the Turkish soldiers, saying the abduction aimed to harm the ongoing peace process between the government and the group.

"These are actions perpetrated by those who want to hurt the process," said Erdogan, vowing to advance the process regardless of the incident.

The Turkish authorities started peace negotiations with the PKK in October 2012, which led to a cease-fire in March, and the PKK fighters started to return in May to their strongholds in northern Iraq.

On Friday, a group affiliated to the PKK held a demonstration against the demolition of some PKK members' graves in Yuksekova town. The clashes between demonstrators and police left two policemen seriously injured and died later in the hospital.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and some other countries, took up arms in 1984 in an attempt to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Since then, over 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving the group.

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