News / Europe

Kurdish Rebels Free Eight Turkish Captives

A picture taken on March 13, 2013 shows Turkish prisoners as they were released in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk, after being held for two years in northern Iraq by the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).
A picture taken on March 13, 2013 shows Turkish prisoners as they were released in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk, after being held for two years in northern Iraq by the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).
Dorian Jones

A Kurdish rebel group has released eight Turkish citizens who had been held captive for almost two years.  The move is part of ongoing peace efforts to end the decades long conflict between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The handover occurred in neighboring northern Iraq where the captives, a mix of Turkish soldiers and civil servants, had been held. 

Turkish President Abdullah Gul welcomed the release. "We are happy that our citizens who had been away from their country for so long, and from whom we had not received any news, are returning," he said.

The release of the captives is part of a government-led initiative to bring an end to the 29-year conflict with the PKK. 

Speaking ahead of the captives' release, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay described the PKK move as an important goodwill gesture and said peace efforts remain on track.

Government talks with Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is being held in a Turkish prison, began last year. Ocalan called for the release of the captives last month.

Further steps are anticipated in the coming week, with the PKK expected to announce a cease-fire ahead of celebrations marking the start of the Kurdish New Year on March 21. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also calling for a withdrawal of all PKK fighters from Turkish territory.

Since 1984, the PKK has fought for autonomy as well as greater cultural and political rights. The conflict has claimed more than 40,000 lives. 

Much of the international community, including the European Union and the United States, has designated the PKK a terrorist organization. Speaking at a news conference about the release of the captives, a senior PKK figure said, "The ball is now in Turkey's court."

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: kanaikaalirumporai
March 13, 2013 1:25 PM
A final and permanat solution to the issue will only happen if there's a UN backed referendum likethe ones in East-timo, Kosovo and South-sudan. The main hnder here would be the US, which advocates all sortes of advancemets in peoples' rights, when it comes to states that are not in alliance with it, but treates it's friends very differently. Turkey and Syria are prime examples here.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More