Germany has insisted it will not succumb to blackmail over three of its citizens kidnapped by Kurdish rebels in Turkey. The three were part of a climbing party tackling Mount Ararat. They were seized by members of the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, who say they will not be released until Germany changes its anti-PKK stance.
The German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier refused to back down:
“The German government does not allow itself to be blackmailed,” he said. “The Foreign Ministry’s Crisis Management Unit is working hard to secure the climbers’ freedom.”
Mount Ararat lies in Turkey’s Agri province, to the north of the region where the PKK is fighting for an autonomous Kurdish homeland. Local reports say the hostages are in good health. But the PKK repeated they would only be freed if Berlin renounces what it called Germany’s “hostile policies.”
Germany recently banned a Kurdish tv station, Roj TV, for being a PKK mouthpiece, and extradited two PKK militants back to Turkey.