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Hüseyin Aygün. REUTERS photo

Hüseyin Aygün. REUTERS photo

Suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) kidnapped a deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) late yesterday. 
 
CHP Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün was returning from a visit to Ovacık district in the eastern province when PKK militants stopped his vehicle at around 7 p.m., broadcaster CNNTürk reported. 
 
Aygün was traveling with journalist Kadir Merkit of daily Akşam and his aide, Deniz Tunç. PKK militants let Merkit and Tunç go but kidnapped Aygün.
 
Relating how the kidnapping occurred in today’s daily Akşam, Merkit said the militants first attempted to convince the deputy to leave with them for about 20 minutes but then threatened to kill Aygün when he refused to go willingly.
 
After stopping his vehicle and forcing the three passengers out, PKK militants told Aygün that he was to come with them because it had been decided by the organization. "You will be our guest for a few days," PKK militants told Aygün, according to Merkit. 
 
Aygün tried to convince the militants to set him free, telling them, "You know me, I am a deputy from Tunceli, what you are doing is wrong," but the militants pressed on, telling Aygün he would either come willingly or that they would use force.
 
"I will not go with you. Kill me if you like," Aygün told the militants, according to Merkit. "I have worked for the interests of Tunceli locals and Alevis up to this day."
 
PKK militants then threatened to kill Aygün, allegedly saying: "We told you not to resist. We will put a bullet in your head if you don't come with us," to which Aygün replied, "I will not go, shoot me if you want."
 
The militants moved to take Aygün away after the conversation. Merkit and Tunç wanted to object but were stopped in their tracks as the militants threatened to kill them as well, according to Merkit.
 
"Aygün yelled at us to do as they said as he was being dragged away into a woodland in order to protect us," Merkit said. 
 
Turkish President Abdullah Gül called CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu after receiving news of the kidnapping to express his concern over the incident. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also called Kılıçdaroğlu today, saying he condemned the act.

Kılıçdaroğlu said, "the point where terror has escalated to is thought-provoking" and that "Turkey was being dragged into a quagmire."
 
CHP spokesperson Haluk Koç said yesterday that it was the first time the PKK had kidnapped an elected deputy and added that it was time for politicians to stop placing the blame on each other and act together. "It is enough," Koç said. 
 
AKP deputy chairman Ömer Çelik wrote on his Twitter account that the kidnapping of a lawmaker was unacceptable and that it was an attack against the entire Parliament. Another deputy chairman for the party, Hüseyin Çelik, made a statement of a similar nature, saying the kidnapping was directed at the collective identity of the Parliament.
 
But another AKP deputy, Şamil Tayyar, said the kidnapping was staged, tweeting: "The PKK is keeping the CHP deputy as a guest, have fun chatting. The people will not fall for this trick."
 
The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) also reacted to the kidnapping, saying: "The incident is unacceptable. We demand the immediate release of Aygün."
 
A military operation was launched to rescue the lawmaker. The deputy’s family, however, called on the operation to be halted for fear that it could endanger Aygün’s life.
 
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Aygün had drawn ire with remarks on Alevism, Dersim Massacre

A lawyer by profession, Hüseyin Aygün is best known for being a human rights activist. He was among the founders of the Tunceli Bar Association and was the driving force behind the publication of the first ever newspaper published in the Zazaki language in Turkey.  

Aygün had caused controversy recently when he said "Alevism is a religion," drawing ire especially from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Fellow deputies from his Republican People’s Party (CHP) also objected to his remarks, prompting CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, an Alevi himself, to say: "Alevism is not a religion, but a belief. It is a part of Islam."
 
Aygün had fallen at odds with his party earlier when he said the CHP and the Turkish state was responsible for the Dersim Massacre in 1938-39 and that "Atatürk had full knowledge about what was going on." 

The statements completely contradicted party policy, and numerous CHP deputies requested that Aygün be expelled from the party. 
 
The controversial deputy had also defended education in mother tongue, "not only in Kurdish but also in the Arabic, Zazaki and Laz languages."

August/13/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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Adam Polk

8/13/2012 11:41:05 PM

This is on AKP.

american american

8/13/2012 9:09:40 PM

if they can kidnap a politician, who else?

Can Oz

8/13/2012 5:32:08 PM

Erdogan constantly complains that the opposition is never united in condemning PKK terror attacks. But after the kidnapping a member of his own party implies that the main opposition CHP is in collusion with the PKK terorrists.Turkish politics is a big joke, and everyone is to blame. Erdogan should clean up his own house before casting blame on others.

Kevin Snapp

8/13/2012 3:43:06 PM

As a foreigner, I am struggling to understand this. Is this not the final proof that what the PKK wants is not justice for Kurds, but its own power? Doesn't this -- the kidnapping of a deputy for Tunceli/Dersim, who fought for minority rights -- prove this? What the hell is going on?

Recep Ozel

8/13/2012 12:43:25 PM

The CHP leader had called all MPs to Parliament tomorrow to discuss the worsening situation with the PKK. It is appalling that in a supposed democracy AKP will ignore this. Today our PM is meeting with the generals to discuss what to do, and is not involving a single person from CHP. It seems like AKP is working to come out as a hero instead of doing what is best for Turkey. Also, the CHP leader has been reported on TV extensively this morning, but not on the strictly AKP channels.

Kemal Candar

8/13/2012 12:31:00 PM

"The PKK is keeping the CHP deputy as a guest, have fun chatting. The people will not fall for this trick." This is a disgusting remark from AKP deputy, Şamil Tayyar. This shows you on what low level the AKP is built up.

Eric Martin

8/13/2012 12:00:51 PM

Terrible article. What district did this happen in? What are we doing with these traitors in the country? Nothing.

mistique holland

8/13/2012 10:42:50 AM

What about Kilicdaroglu, when it concenrs AKP he is as loud as he can be and rude aswell but now he's keeping silent. This man has no ruling vision at all. He lets his own party members down in the most worse scenario....Why not bomb the mountains etc...

Willis

8/13/2012 10:22:56 AM

Maybe this will convince Erdoğan to convene parliment...

dogan kemal ileri

8/13/2012 10:18:00 AM

The PKK are history and they know it.This kidnapping is indicative of ever decreasing targets for them.Turkiye will never give them what they want and they know that too.So what is their reason d'etre other than to serve foreign masters? But Turkiye is far too powerful for the PKK and any foreign masters and at last they are getting to know that too.They had better cut a deal soon and save face because Turkiye is detemined to hound them forever and pulverise them into oblivion.And they will!!!
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