Kurd rebels free Turkish prisoners in northern Iraq
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
CIZRE, Turkey: The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) released on Tuesday eight Turkish prisoners they had been holding for two years in northern Iraq, a Kurdish official told AFP.
The release comes as part of a new peace push carried out by the Turkish government to end the 29-year old Kurdish insurgency led by the PKK branded as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community.
"We have safely received the prisoners," said Husamettin Zenderlioglu, a member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) who was part of the delegation receiving the prisoners.
Zenderlioglu, who was in northern Iraq, spoke to an AFP correspondent near Turkey's border with Iraq.
The release of the eight captives, including security officers and civil servants, came after a request by jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, who spoke last month through visiting BDP lawmakers that he hoped to see prisoners "reach their families."
The Turkish captives are expected to be sent with the delegation to Turkey through the Habur border crossing to meet their families and will be "transferred to the nearest airport," Interior Minister Muammer Guler said ahead of the release. (AFP)