Turkey: PKK releases three kidnapped journalists

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters, Hurriyet
Turkey: PKK releases three kidnapped journalists

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK has released three journalists from Turkey’s state-run news agency after kidnapping them two days ago.

The team from the Anadolu agency were identified as war correspondent Rauf Maltaş, photojournalist Onur Çoban and camera operator Kenan Yeşilyurt.

They were snatched more than 48 hours ago while on assignment near the city of Mardin in the mainly Kurdish south-east of the country.

The agency says they were held at an unknown location. Security sources think they were filming in the region without clearance from the PKK.

Southeast Turkey has been gripped by violence since the collapse last July of a ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government.

Who are the PKK?

The PKK has waged a three-decade long insurgency for autonomy against the Turkish government.

More than 40,000 people have been killed.

Ankara, Washington and the EU consider the group a terrorist organisation.

Recent developments

The government has accused the PKK of being behind a car bomb in Ankara on Wednesday that killed 28 people.

A splinter Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks or TAK, has since claimed responsibility for the atrocity.

The Turkish government has dismissed the claim, saying TAK is shielding the international reputation of the Syrian Kurdish fighters, who Washington is backing in the fight against Islamic State.