Alleged members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, kidnapped eight teachers in two separate provinces in southeastern Turkey on Tuesday.
Militants also kidnapped village guard İsmail Gürbüz in the eastern province of Tunceli.
Eight teachers were returning to the Arıcak district of Elazığ province from the Yoğunbilek village school when their vehicle was stopped by PKK militants near Gündoğdu village at around 5 p.m.
Militants separated left the four female teachers and the van driver but abducted the remaining male teachers, who were identified as Gökhan Yıldız, Abdullah Karan, İrfan Sarıkaya and İsmail Yücel, all born in Elazığ.
PKK members abducted elementary school teacher Ahmet Ürün from his home in the Çiftlibahçe village of Diyarbakır on Tuesday night.
Two more teachers in Dolunay village and another in Çavundur village in Diyarbakır were also kidnapped by the PKK.
Reports said operations were underway to apprehend the kidnappers.
‘Do not be affected by such incidents’
The kidnappings came days after Education Minister Ömer Dinçer had commented on the use of teachers as human shields by the PKK in an attack in the southeastern province of Siirt over the weekend, saying, “All precautions are being taken by security forces … these are isolated events … our teachers can continue doing their work.”
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.