Report: 3 Chinese workers abducted in Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Kurdish rebels have abducted three Chinese workers in southeast Turkey and attacked a thermal power plant where they worked, injuring a security guard, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Monday.
The Anadolu Agency said the workers were seized while grocery shopping near the town Silopi on Sunday and that Turkish security forces had launched an operation to rescue them.
The Chinese Embassy in Ankara confirmed that three workers were missing after an attack on the plant.
The Anadolu Agency said the Kurdish rebels used rocket-propelled grenades and rifles in the attack on the plant late Sunday.
Kurdish rebels have abducted foreigners in the past to draw attention to their cause, but have not harmed any of them. The attack by the autonomy-seeking Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, is widely believed to be retaliation to the killing in another town last week of a Kurd who was protesting against the Turkish security forces’ removal of a statue of a Kurdish rebel fighter.
It comes amid talks between Turkish officials and the PKK’s imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, which aim to end a three-decade long conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. In 2013, Kurdish rebels declared a cease-fire and began withdrawing fighters from Turkey into bases in northern Iraq, but the withdrawal came to a halt in September after the PKK accused Turkey of not increasing Kurdish rights as promised. Turkish leaders have declared they are committed to the peace efforts.