Three German mountaineers have been freed after being held hostage by the PKK, the armed rebel Kurdish group. The trio, abducted 12 days ago while on a climbing expedition in eastern Turkey, are now safely in the hands of the Turkish government.
German’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, expressed his relief: “This is also a moment to express gratitude for the Turkish authorities who had supported our efforts for a solution from the beginning.”
The three mountaineers, part of a 13-member climbing team, had established a camp on Mount Ararat in Agri province when they were seized by PKK rebels. The PKK said its men had taken the Germans hostage in protest against what it called Berlin’s recent hostile actions against Kurdish separatists.
Last month Germany banned a Kurdish television station which Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble described as a mouthpiece for the PKK, and last year Berlin extradited two PKK militants to Turkey.