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 Kurdish PKK rebels kidnap ethnic Kurdish lawmaker in Turkey

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Kurdish PKK rebels kidnap ethnic Kurdish lawmaker in Turkey  13.8.2012  

Huseyin Aygun, a main opposition Republican People's Party lawmaker from eastern Kurdish city of Tunceli (northern Kurdistan). Turkish troops launched a search Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012 for the lawmaker kidnapped by Kurdish rebels near Tunceli, authorities and the lawmaker's party said. Aygun was abducted Sunday evening at a roadblock between the town of Ovacik and Tunceli, said party spokesman Haluk Koc during a televised news conference. A journalist and an adviser traveling with him were set free, he added. 
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August 13, 2012

TUNCELI, Turkey's Kurdish region,— Kurdish rebels abducted late Sunday an ethnic Kurdish lawmaker from the Republican People's Party (CHP) in the south-eastern Kurdish city of Tunceli, security sources and local officials said.

Tunceli lawmaker Huseyin Aygun was kidnapped by members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) after his car was stopped by the rebels on the highway, security sources told AFP.

The rebels let Aygun's assistant and a journalist accompanying them leave as they took Aygun and disappeared into the woods nearby, Tunceli governor Mustafa Taskesen told reporters, citing witnesses.

NTV reported that Taskesen had highlighted that the kidnapping came ahead of the 28th anniversary of the rebels' first armed attack on Aug. 15, 1984.

NTV television reported Gov. Mustafa Taskesen of Tunceli province as saying that Aygun was kidnapped under orders from Kurdish rebel command.

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 rebels in rural areas, as well as torture cases.

His adviser, Deniz Tunc, told NTV television that Aygun had resisted the rebels and quarreled with them in Kurdish for half an hour before convincing them to free him and the journalist. The rebels reportedly said "he will be our guest for a while," Tunc was quoted as saying.

The abduction was also confirmed by the CHP, the main opposition party with 135 lawmakers in the 550-seat Turkish parliament.

The incident follows the abduction of three soldiers last week in another part of Turkey's Kurdish region in the south-east.

Turkish security forces launched an operation to locate Aygun, as the search continued for the kidnapped troops.

Kurdish rebels frequently kidnap workers, soldiers and local authorities to bargain for the release of captured rebels. Those who have not been found by Turkish forces are reportedly held captive in hideouts across Turkey's border with Iraq.

Last Sunday, Kurdish rebels stormed a Turkish army post on the Iraq border, triggering fighting that killed 22 people in the latest clash since Ankara unleashed a major offensive against the insurgents.

A series of similar assaults against troops in the Kurdish-dominated south-east prompted the army to launch an all-out offensive against PKK bases in the area last month.

At least 115 rebels have been killed since the offensive began on July 23, Turkish authorities said. The abductions might be a response on the part of the rebels, according to Turkish media.

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.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous 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.

The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.

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, 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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