Chancellor Angela Merkel urged PKK militants to release three German mountain climbers "immediately and unharmed," according to comments released Saturday — four days after they were taken hostage in far eastern Turkey.
Merkel told the Bild am Sonntag weekly that the German government is doing everything possible to secure the release of the three, who were abducted late Tuesday by PKK militants on Mount Ararat.
"I call on the kidnappers to release the three Germans immediately and unharmed," Merkel was quoted as saying. Her government said it had no news Saturday of the three.
Merkel said Germany "will not be blackmailed," according to the comments in Bild.
She said she planned to take up the issue Sunday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of a summit in Paris of nations on the Mediterranean rim, the magazine reported.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he also planned to discuss the kidnappings Sunday with his Turkish counterpart, Ali Babacan, in Paris.
It is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara, the European Union and the United States and has been banned in Germany for 15 years.
PKK militants said they would not release three German tourists kidnapped in eastern Turkey until Germany halted its policies against the militant group, a news agency close to the militants said on Thursday.
Firat news agency reported the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants as saying the three Germans, who were part of a climbing expedition in Agri province, were in good health.
Spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Thursday there had been a close cooperation between Turkey and Germany in regard to the three German mountaineers who were kidnapped in the east of Turkey.
Earlier, German Interior Ministry banned the activities of Roj TV, which is the broadcast organ of PKK, in the country.
Last Mod: 14 Temmuz 2008, 08:55