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    Kurdish militants free four abducted Turkish soldiers

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    Originally published on December 9, 2013

    Four Turkish soldiers abducted by Kurdish militants on Sunday were released today, according to a report by Reuters.

    The soldiers were kidnapped in a rural area near Diyarbakir, a southeastern province of Turkey on Sunday. Two of the soldiers were lieutenants; two were sergeants.

    Guerilla fighters belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) set up a roadblock to check the identification documents of people passing the area. The soldiers were forced out of their car and taken away. The Kurdish rebels also set the vehicle alight, according to a report by AFP.

    The abductees were let go early next day as Kurdish politicians negotiated on their behalf. Citing a security source AFP reported that the soldiers were "in good health".

    Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the abduction would be detrimental to peacekeeping efforts. "These are actions perpetrated by those who want to hurt the process. The same way the Hakkari incidents also were steps undertaken and actions made by those wanted to damage the process. This is a similar event," said Erdogan.

    The country had been enjoying a period of relative calm after the Turkish government and PKK agreed to a ceasefire eight months ago.

    The region might as well plunge into instability again. The kidnap took place two days after two Kurds, aged 32 and 34, were shot dead in Yuksekova, a town in Hakkari Province, by Turkish police. Hundreds attended the protest, which was triggered by the destruction of Kurdish rebels' cemeteries.

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


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