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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid