World Bulletin/News Desk
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Co-chairperson Gülten Kisanak, who was among a group of deputies who met with senior leaders of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, has said 10 public officials kidnapped by the PKK will be released within seven to 10 days.
The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) delegation is continuing talks with Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq as part of the negotiation process between the government and the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The announcement by Kisanak on Saturday in Arbil comes amidst ongoing peace talks between the government and the PKK as part of the government's latest move to disarm the PKK through dialogue.
Kisanak said the delegation met with a group of senior PKK leaders led by Murat Karayilan in the Kandil Mountains, known as the bases of the PKK. "I hope these [public] officials will reunite with their families soon," she said at a press conference in Arbil.
The delegation which travelled from Saulaymaniyah to Erbil stated that they had visited the Qandil Mountains and met with a PKK delegation.
Kisanak mentioned that the PKK will provide them with a response in 10 days. Kisanak also conveyed that the PKK stated they would start working on the release of the 9 kidnapped public officials.
Non-commissioned officer Abdullah Sopceler and sergeant Zihni Koc had been kidnapped on July 9, 2011 near the town of Lice in Diyarbakir Province. A month later on August 12, 2011, district governor candidate Kenan Erenoglu was abducted on the Diyarbakir-Mus highway. Again a month later on September 9, 2011, police officer Nadir Ozgen was kidnapped in the Catak district of Van province. Sergeant Kemal Ekinci was abducted in Sirnak on October 1, 2011, and Hadi Gizli, Ramazan Basaran ve Resat Cecan on the Diyarbakır-Bingol highway on August 7, 2012.
According to the Human Rights Association (İHD) a soldier whose name and rank have not been ascertained was also kidnapped in August 2011 by the PKK.
Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan recently signaled that the PKK may release the public officials kidnapped during a meeting with BDP deputies Pervin Buldan, Altan Tan and Sirri Sureyya Onder on Feb. 23.
After the meeting, Buldan read a short statement by Ocalan which defined the BDP delegation's visit to Imrali as a "historic step." The PKK head also called on all parties to be extra cautious and sensitive during the peace talks, saying: "The state and the PKK both have prisoners. The PKK should treat prisoners well, and I hope they can return to their families." In the statement Öcalan referred to both captured soldiers and government employees kidnapped by the PKK in recent years.Last Mod: 02 Mart 2013, 18:04