TURKEY

Turkish AK Party official Aydın Ahi shot dead in PKK assault

TURKISH AK PARTY OFFICIAL AYDIN AHI SHOT DEAD IN PKK ASSAULT

AK Party Özalp district deputy chairman Aydın Ahi was kidnapped and shot dead by PKK terrorists late Saturday

A local official of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party was kidnapped and shot dead late Saturday, the party's provincial chairman told Anadolu Agency -- the second such killing in the region in less than 24 hours.

Aydın Ahi, deputy chairman in the eastern Van province's Özalp district, was shot just 65 feet (20 meters) from his house while being kidnapped by two PKK terrorists, Zahir Soğanda said.

Earlier Saturday, hundreds of miles to the east, Orhan Mercan, the AK Party's deputy chairman in the southeastern Diyarbakir province's Lice district, was also shot dead in front of his house in a suspected PKK assassination.

In Özalp, AK Party district Chairman Orhan Yıldırımçakar said other PKK terrorists fired guns while their accomplices kidnapped Ahi.

As part of the investigation, 16 suspects have been taken into custody, a security source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

Investigations and operations to catch the perpetrators are continuing, the source added.

Last year the PKK also assassinated Ahi's predecessor, Aydın Muşta, in front of his house.

Diyarbakır and Van, situated some 300 kilometers (185 miles) apart, have been hit by numerous PKK attacks since the group -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU -- resumed its 30-year armed campaign against the state in July 2015.

More than 1,200 victims, including security personnel and civilians, have since lost their lives in PKK attacks.

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