Abducted Kurdish MP freed by PKK in Turkey

Opposition member Huseyin Aygun freed by fighters outside a town in Tunceli province after being kidnapped on Sunday.

    Aygun's abduction marked the first kidnapping of a Turkish member of parliament by the PKK [AFP]
    Aygun's abduction marked the first kidnapping of a Turkish member of parliament by the PKK [AFP]

    A Turkish opposition parliamentarian who was kidnapped by members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has been released.

    Huseyin Aygun, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party, was freed on Tuesday after being abducted on Sunday evening at a roadblock between the town of Ovacik and the city of Tunceli.

    Governor Mustafa Taskesen told NTV that the politician was now with military police after the fighters brought him through the mountains and left him outside Ovacik in the Tunceli province.

    "He is in good health and expected to be in Tunceli [city] after judicial procedures are concluded," Governor Mustafa Taskesen told NTV.

    Local security forces told the AFP news agency that Aygun, 42, had refused to testify at a nearby police station and said he wanted to go to Tunceli.

    Aygun appeared healthy as he faced reporters on Tuesday night.

    "My two-day adventure in the mountains ended tonight. The people who carried this out said they were doing it to spread their political message," he said.

    "They said they chose this path to resolve the Kurdish conflict and stop the bloodshed ... there was nothing life-threatening about this, it was a way of making a political statement."

    Aygun was elected to the parliament to represent Tunceli, where he worked as a lawyer for 14 years.

    According to his website, his work focuses on human rights abuses, such as the forcible evacuations of Kurdish villages to deny support to the PKK in rural areas, as well as torture cases.

    Aygun has in the past called on the PKK to abandon their violent campaign.

    Rescue operation

    Turkish security forces launched an operation on Monday to locate Aygun.

    The operation came amid intensified clashes between PKK fighters and Turkish troops in the region.

    PKK fighters confirmed in a statement that they were holding the politician and warned Turkey to abandon its rescue operation.

    Aygun's abduction marked the first kidnapping of a Turkish politician since the PKK began their battle for autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast nearly 30 years ago.

    Kurdish fighters frequently kidnap workers, soldiers and local authorities to bargain for the release of captured PKK members, and free most hostages without harm.

    The PKK, seen as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the European Union, took up arms in 1984 in a bid to carve out a homeland in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

    More than 40,000 people, mainly Kurds, have died in the ensuing violence.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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