• Germany's news in English

Merkel calls on PKK to free German hostages

AFP · 13 Jul 2008, 09:48

Published: 13 Jul 2008 09:48 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"I call on the kidnappers to immediately release the three Germans," she said in Sunday's edition of Bild newspaper, adding that Berlin would not allow itself to be blackmailed.

The German government "will do everything to secure their release and is working directly with the Turkish authorities" on the case, Merkel said.

She said she would discuss the issue when she meets Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a Mediterranean summit in Paris on Sunday.

On Friday, a spokesman for the German foreign ministry called for the "immediate and unconditional release" of the three Germans, who the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) seized from Mount Ararat in Turkey late on Tuesday.

The group said in a statement on Thursday that the tourists would not be released "unless the German state announces that it has given up its hostile policies against the Kurdish people and the PKK."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the time rejected demands for a change of policy towards the PKK in exchange for their freedom.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States, has been banned in Germany since 1993, and German authorities have taken legal action against several of the group's leaders.

According to a report in Monday's edition of Der Spiegel weekly, the Kurdish rebels warned Germany about the "negative consequences" of its policy towards Kurds at the end of June in a message sent via its embassy in Turkey.

The PKK's executive council called on the government to give up "its hostile policy towards the Kurdish people and its liberation movement" or take responsibility for "the negative consequences", the magazine said, without naming its sources.

Shortly afterwards, Turkish police informed their German colleagues of heightened activity within Kurdish circles in Turkey and warned of the likely risk of kidnappings or attacks.

German police passed on the information to the interior ministries of several countries, according to Der Spiegel.

Story continues below…

Secretary of state for the interior August Hanning acknowledged to the magazine: "We will probably also have to prepare ourselves for new dangers on German soil."

The PKK has waged a bloody struggle for self-rule in Turkey's Kurdish-populated southeast since 1984. While it has kidnapped people in the past, among them soldiers, police and tourists, it is not a regular occurrence.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd