PKK militants abduct four Turkish soldiers after unrest

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 08, 2013 1:10 PM
PKK militants abduct four Turkish soldiers after unrest

ANKARA (Reuters) - Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants abducted four Turkish soldiers while they were on patrol in Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakir on Sunday, Turkish media reported.

It was not immediately clear why the soldiers were taken, but tensions in the region have been high since two people were killed on Friday during clashes between police and protesters in the nearby town of Yuksekova.

Local media said that a few hundred protesters had gathered to demonstrate against reported vandalism carried out on the graves of PKK members. Turkish police fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse the protestors.

A delicate eight-month ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK militants still holds as the two sides negotitate a tricky peace process to end a conflict that has left more than 40,000 people dead over the past decade.

PKK's jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan said that incidents such as Friday's were provocations aimed at hampering the peace process and cautioned for calm, MPs from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said in a statement on Saturday. The MPs had visited Ocalan in the Imrali island prison where he is being held.

The PKK is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by David Goodman)