AĞRI – Doğan News Agency
Three members of a group of German mountaineers were kidnapped by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, from a camp on Mount Ağrı (Ararat) late Tuesday, the provincial governor said yesterday.
The 13-person mountaineering team had received permission to climb the mountain between July 4 and 11 and the three Germans were kidnapped from a camp located at an elevation of 3,200 meters.
Governor Mehmet Çetin said the kidnapping occurred at 11:00 p.m. and that a security operation had begun in the region to liberate the tourists.
Çetin said permission was requested via the Foreign Ministry and that the group had arrived in the region three days ago. A local guide led the group and five PKK members had kidnapped the mountaineers, he said. �The PKK members said the kidnapping was in response to the recent action taken by the German government against PKK sympathizers and associations linked to the group,� the governor said, before adding that the rest of the mountaineering team was taken to the nearest town.
Speaking to the CNN-Türk news channel, the spokesman of the German Foreign Ministry, Jens Plötner, said: �We are investigating the case. The German Foreign Ministry is in close cooperation with the German Embassy in Turkey and Turkish authorities.�
He said he could not comment further due to the fact that investigation was still continuing.