Pro-PKK agency releases photos, interview of kidnapped officials

Pro-PKK agency releases photos, interview of kidnapped officials
# 04 March 2013 18:16 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The photos of separate interviews with eight Turkish public officials kidnapped by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were posted on the website of the PKK-affiliated Fırat news agency (ANF), APA reports quoting Today’s Zaman.

The officials are dressed in sportswear and they appear in good health in the photos. In the interviews, the officials sent their greetings to their families, expressing their will to reunite with them as soon as possible, and made a call on the government to successfully conclude the ongoing talks with the terrorist PKK.

Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK, recently signaled during a meeting with Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies on Feb. 23 that the PKK may release the kidnapped public officials. After the meeting, one of the deputies read a short statement by Öcalan that said: “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.

Over the weekend, BDP Co-Chairperson Gülten Kışanak said the public officials kidnapped by the PKK would be released within 10 days.

According to the ANF, one of the officials is a noncommissioned officer, two are sergeants, one a district governor and one a police officer. The remaining three officials were performing their compulsory military service when they were kidnapped by the PKK in 2012.

In the interview, District Governor Kenan ErenoÄŸlu said he was kidnapped by the PKK in August 2011 as he was traveling in a civilian vehicle on the MuÅŸ-Diyarbakır highway. He said he is in good health and sent his greetings to his family. “I want my family to know that I am in good health. I want them to be in good health, too. I hope I will reunite with them as soon as possible,” ErenoÄŸlu stated. The district governor also said he and his friends are allowed to follow the developments related to the peace talks between Turkish state authorities and Öcalan over the radio and that he wants the talks to be concluded successfully soon.

In a separate interview, Sgt. Zihni Koç said he was kidnapped in Diyarbakır two years ago. “I am in good health. I want my family to know this,” the sergeant said, adding: “I want them to be strong. I know it may be hard for them but I want them to take care of themselves.”

NCO Abdullah Söpçeler said he was kidnapped by the PKK in July 2011 and that he misses his family. “I do not have a serious health problem and want my family to be safe and sound. I want the process [peace talks] to be concluded positively,” he noted.

ReÅŸat Çeçan, a kidnapped soldier, told ANF that one of his brothers is a PKK member and is “fighting in the mountains.” “My brother is a guerilla [PKK terrorist] and I was a soldier. Either he would shoot me or I would shoot him if we met. I do not want this to happen. I want the bloodshed to stop,” he stated. He also made a call on state authorities and people to do their best for peace to be achieved.