Booming PKK abductions aim at showing off

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News – 14.8.2012 – The kidnapping of a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker in the eastern province of Tunceli shows efforts by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) to claim control of the region, political analysts say.

“The PKK used to fight by using a hit and run method, but obviously this has turned into a policy of regional domination,” Vahap Coşkun a member of Dicle University’s law department told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday in a telephone interview. “Kidnapping incidents increased rapidly in the last two years, and the target is generally civil servants, soldiers and bureaucrats. This approach aims to pull the government to the negotiation table and show that the PKK has the power of managing Turkey’s agenda.”

PKK militants kidnapped CHP lawmaker Hüseyin Aygün late Aug. 12 during a visit to his electoral region. Coşkun said the change in strategy by the outlawed organization came from obscurity after recent conflicts between the PKK and Turkish Military ended in the Şemdinli region Aug. 11 after 19 days of heavy clashes.

The PKK also kidnapped 11 people in the southeastern province of Hakkari’s Yüksekova yesterday, taking men working as drivers in ongoing airport construction work. Since July 2011 the PKK has kidnapped 145 people compared to 154 abducted people recorded between 1990 and 2010, according to Human Rights Foundation (İHD) statistics.

Meanwhile, Kurdish politician and writer İbrahim Güçlü said the last incident showed the PKK was fighting for a “liberated area.” “The PKK showed its irrational face one more time by kidnapping a deputy who was elected by receiving 57 percent of all votes in his polling district where a Kurdish majority lives. Aygün also is known with his Alevi identity and his activism for human rights,” he said. Yılmaz Ensaroğlu, the law and human rights department director of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) also said “the PKK shot itself in the foot” with its recent actions.

Aygün is not only a lawmaker but also a human rights defender, he said.