Suspected Kurdish rebels abduct local official in southeast Turkey

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 02, 2014 12:04 PM

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Gunmen have abducted the top elected official of a village in southeastern Turkey, security sources said on Sunday, stirring concerns that violence could mount in the region before municipal polls on March 30.

Abdurrahman Ecer, 50, is head of the village of Cigli, near the Iraqi border in the remote province of Hakkari, the sources said. He belongs to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party.

The sources said blamed the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), saying Ecer was taken at gunpoint and had not been heard from since Friday. The PKK has not claimed responsibility.

The military General Staff confirmed Ecer's abduction on its website.

Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast has been largely peaceful since the PKK declared a ceasefire in March 2013 and withdrew many of its fighters to bases in northern Iraq.

The truce was arranged to support talks between jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and the state on how to end a three-decade conflict that has cost 40,000 lives, most of them Kurds.

(Reporting by Sehymus Cakan, writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Alistair Lyon)