October 22, 2014 / 2:35 PM / 5 years ago

Power workers seized in southeast Turkey released

DIYARBAKIR Turkey (Reuters) - Ten power company workers seized by suspected Kurdish militants on Wednesday in southeastern Turkey have been released, a security source said.

Tensions remain high in the region following unrest that killed at least 35 people. In a separate incident, a politician from a Kurdish Islamist party was shot dead in the eastern city of Bingol.

Ethnic Kurds rioted in several southeastern cities this month over what they perceived as the government’s refusal to help Syrian Kurds fighting Islamic State militants for more than a month in the besieged town of Kobani.

The unrest threatens a shaky peace process in which the government is negotiating an end to a 30-year insurgency with the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who called a ceasefire last year.

Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State in Kobani are closely affiliated with the PKK.

After several hours in captivity, the Dicle Electric Co. workers were released near the town of Hazro, about 30 km northwest of where they were abducted by a group of masked men, the source said.

The source had earlier said the assailants could be belong to the PKK, who have in the past kidnapped soldiers, engineers, journalists and others, sometimes with the aim of securing a prisoner exchange.

In Bingol, Fethi Yalcin, 35, was killed outside of his home by unidentified gunmen who shot him with a rifle from a car. He was a member of the Islamist Free Cause Party, or Huda Par, security officials said.

Though both mainly Kurdish, left-leaning PKK loyalists and Huda Par members have clashed in the past and again earlier this month.

Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan; Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Alison Williams

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