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 Kurdish PKK rebels kidnap British tourist in SE Turkey

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Kurdish PKK rebels kidnap British tourist in SE Turkey  3.6.2012  

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) [Hęzęn Parastina Gel - HPG] demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds' identity in its constitution and of their language as a native language along with Turkish in the country's Kurdish areas, the party also demanded an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and constitution against Kurds, ranting them full political freedoms. . Photo: 
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June 3, 2012

DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish region of Turkey, — Kurdish rebels have stopped a passenger bus and kidnapped a British tourist in the Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey, local sources said on Sunday, AFP reported.

The incident took place at 1530 GMT on Saturday on the Diyarbakir-Bingol highway.

Diyarbakir governor Mustafa Toprak confirmed the kidnapping, in remarks carried by the Anatolia news agency.

Rebels "seized some passengers' phones and kidnapped a foreign national, who is thought to be a British national," he told Anatolia.

The rebels took a 35-year-old tourist to a rural area in the northeast of Kurdish city of  Diyarbakir, said the sources.

The abduction followed a recent increase in activity by the rebel group, which last month kidnapped 10 villagers from Bayirli village in the southeast. The motive was unknown.

The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem, Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara and U.S. The PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

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