German diplomats assigned to PKK abduction case
Germany assigns officials to the case of its three abducted citizens in eastern Turkey
Berlin -- A team of German diplomats who specialise in solving abduction cases have been assigned to seek the release of three Germans seized by Kurdish guerrillas in eastern Turkey, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said late on Wednesday on German TV.
"We are working hard to establish the circumstances, and naturally we are doing everything possible to obtain a release as soon as possible," he said on ARD television news.
Steinmeier said that the experienced crisis section at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin had already swung into operation before the night was out and had established contact with senior officials in Turkey.
Three German mountaineers were taken hostage late on Tuesday on Mount Ararat by guerrillas from the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), reportedly in protest of Germany's ban on Roj TV, a Kurdish satellite channel.
Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said that the three abducted mountaineers were aged 33, 47 and 65 respectively, according to a Bavarian policewoman who was in the rest of the party and had telephoned her office directly after the abduction.
None of the men had been injured during the abduction, Herrmann said. They come from the Bavarian towns of Abensberg, Ingolstadt and Laufen, according to Herrmann. The German alpine mountaineering club DAV said they were all members of the club.
On the travel advisory section of its website, the German Foreign Ministry expressly appealed to Germans to avoid three south-eastern Turkish provinces -- Hakkari, Sirnak and Mardin -- as well as the region near Siirt.
"It cannot be ruled out that Germans, particularly lone travellers, could be made victims of acts of revenge by PKK terrorists, such as attacks or abductions," the website said.