Europe

MP in Turkey released by Kurdish rebels

  • 14 August 2012
  • From the section Europe
Huseyin Aygun speaking in Ankara in December 2011
Mr Aygun said his kidnappers told him they wanted to "spread their propaganda" (file photo)

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

Huseyin Aygun - who is himself a Kurd - was abducted near the city of Tunceli.

Mr Aygun said his captors told him they had seized him to send a message to the Turkish government.

It is believed to be the first time that the PKK, which is fighting for autonomy for Turkey's mainly Kurdish south-east, has kidnapped an MP.

"They said they didn't have any personal grudge against me," Mr Aygun said of his kidnappers.

"They said it was a way of spreading their political propaganda. They said they chose this path to give a message of peace and truce," he added.

Surprising target

A spokesman for Mr Aygun's Republican People's Party said the PKK had abducted him at a roadblock between the town of Ovacik and Tunceli.

The BBC's Bethany Bell in Istanbul says the pro-Kurdish activist and lawyer was a surprising target.

In the past the PKK has focused on attacking soldiers, journalists and other civilians.

The incident comes at a time of rising tension between the PKK and the Turkish army, as Kurds over the border in Northern Syria are beginning to call for more autonomy.

The PKK is classified as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US.

It launched a guerrilla campaign in 1984 for an ethnic homeland in the Kurdish heartland.

It has now dropped its claim to an independent state, but says it is fighting for autonomy and the cultural rights of the Kurdish people.

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