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26 Turkey Prison Hostages Released

November 3, 2000

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ Gang members released 26 prison officials and guards Friday, ending a two-day prison riot that left five inmates dead, officials said.

Gang leader Nuri Ergin surrendered his gun after talks with regional Governor Ayhan Cevik early Friday, and three hostages were initially released by the prisoners. The prison is near the Aegean port city of Izmir.

The remaining 23 prisoners were freed later after Ergin was transferred to Bilecik prison, some 150 miles north, Cevik was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying.

After the release, Ergin’s brother Vedat was also transferred to Bilecik. Cevik said it was a government decision to transfer the Ergin brothers, and not a request of the rioters.

On Thursday, Ergin and other members of the Karagumruk gang attacked eight other inmates, killing five, including three who died after being thrown out of windows. Ergin claimed the slain inmates were members of a rival gang that had arranged to enter the prison to kill him.

For the past year, the Karagumruk gang has been clashing with members of the rival criminal gang. The feud began after gang leaders fought for supremacy at an Istanbul prison.

Karagumruk gang members are in prison pending trial on charges of kidnapping, beating and extortion.

Prisons in Turkey are usually overcrowded, guards are poorly paid, and rioting and hostage taking are not uncommon. Inmates frequently smuggle in mobile phones and guns.

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