Ten custom officials reported missing in eastern Turkey

Ten custom officials, one driver lose contact with family and friends, last known returning home from work in Kapikoy border crossing in Turkey's eastern province of Van

Courtesy of: AA
Courtesy of: AA

Kapikoy border crossing in eastern Turkish province of Van bordered by Iran

Ten customs officials and a driver have lost contact with their family and friends, as they were returning home from work in the provincial center of Van at the Kapikoy border crossing in eastern Turkey.

The crossing is located in the Saray district in Turkey's Van province that borders Iran.

Turkish gendarme forces started an extensive investigation to reach the officials who haven't reached out to their family and friends as of Friday evening.

The officials, along with a service driver left their place of employment following their office hours ending at 4:30 pm local time. The officials who preferred to use their own vehicles for their commute are known to have reached their homes in Van safely.

It is suspected that the outlawed PKK, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey as well as NATO, the US and EU, may have kidnapped the customs officials by blocking off the highway.

Ten other customs officials were also kidnapped by PKK terrorists in the Cukurca district in eastern Turkey's Hakkkari province August 10. They were reportedly on the way back to the provincial center of Hakkari after hours at the Uzumlu border crossing of Cukurca before the PKK blocked the Cukurca-Hakkari highway.

They are considered to be in the hands of the PKK for twelve days. Their relatives have demanded the PKK to release them immediately through the Hakkari branch of the Turkish Human Rights Association (IHD), Turkish media reports stated.

The IHD head of Hakkari Ismail Akbulut said they are calling for the release civilians immediately. He also urged to end the recent violence, the reports added.  

PKK terrorists carried out several terror attacks against Turkish security forces since the Suruc suicide bombing in southeastern Turkey’s Sanliurfa Province, widely thought to have been carried out by ISIS on July 20.

Fifty-seven Turkish security officials have been killed in militant attacks by the outlawed PKK and ISIS since the Suric suicide bombing.

In response to the PKK and ISIS attacks, Turkish security forces have stepped up efforts against the militant groups and launched air strikes in several positions used by PKK and ISIS in Northern Iraq and Syria respectively since late July.

Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern regions by the PKK, which was founded in 1974 by Abdullah Ocalan and his supporters. Armed clashes and acts of violence have continued on and off for more than three decades, and have claimed more than 40,000 lives.

TRTWorld and agencies