ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey has closed one of its border crossings with the autonomous Kurdistan Region days after Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters “kidnapped” four people in the area, security said on Wednesday.
“The PKK recently kidnapped four Kurdish people, who crossed Sarzeri border gate and are from Northern Kurdistan (Turkey’s Kurdistan),” a security source in the area told Kurdistan 24 on condition of anonymity.
The PKK kidnapped them after they entered the Kurdistan Region through the border crossing, and their whereabouts remain unknown, the source stated.
Sarzeri is an official border gate located in the Duhok province that over 1,000 people cross on a daily basis.
“It has been two days since the Turkish government closed the gate, which happened following the kidnappings,” the source added.
The closure has had negative implications on the daily lives of people living in the area as well as businessmen and civilians, who use the gate to cross the border.
“Turkey had delivered its concerns about the kidnapping of the four people to the Kurdistan Region’s administration in the area. Officials from both sides are in contact to resolve the issue.”
Kurdistan 24 tried to contact PKK leaders in the region, but they refused to comment on the case. There has been no statement issued about the kidnapping either.
Over the past years, the Turkish army has regularly shelled the Kurdistan Region’s border areas, claiming it targets PKK fighters which Turkey, the European Union, and the United States consider a “terrorist” organization.
The PKK, a group that has been fighting a decades-long insurgency with Ankara over Kurdish rights and self-rule, is thought to have fighters near hundreds of villages inside the autonomous Kurdistan Region, mainly in the mountainous areas near the Turkish border.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has repeatedly called on the group to stop using the region as a launchpad for its attacks on neighboring Turkey.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany