Turkish ferry hijacked by Kurdish militants, minister says
Assailants claiming to have a bomb hijacked a passenger ferry carrying more than 20 people in northwest Turkey, a Turkish minister said, Today's Zaman reported.
Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım said there were four or five assailants on the "Kartepe" ferry, which was hijacked when it was travelling between İzmit and Gölcük in the Gulf of İzmit when it was hijacked around 5.45 pm (1545 GMT). The assailants said they were acting on behalf of a wing of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) but did not say what they want, Yıldırım told private broadcaster NTV.
Earlier reports said the assailants wanted access to media.
There were 18 passengers and 6 crew on the ferry, according to Yıldırım, who said the authorities were able to contact captain of the ship. The terrorist who is with the captain says he carries a bomb, the minister also said.
Coastguard vessels are trecking the ferry as it "draws zigzags" in the Sea of Marmara, east of İstanbul, Yıldırım said.
Whether the ferry has a destination is not clear. "We do not know what the destination would be. Right now, it is drawing zigzags," Yıldırım said.
Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, is held in a prison in an island off İstanbul.
Yıldırım, who canceled a visit to the eastern province of Erzurum after the hijacking, said the ferry currently has enough fuel to travel 100-120 miles at full speed.