ANKARA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Rebels of the banned Kurdish Workers ' Party (PKK) kidnapped four Turkish soldiers in Diyarbakir province in southeastern Turkey on Sunday, private Dogan news agency reported.
The abduction report came amid escalating tension in southeastern Turkey after two Kurdish protesters were killed during a police crackdown on a demonstration in Yuksekova town of the southeastern province of Hakkari on Friday.
A group of PKK militants erected a checkpoint on a road close to Lice town of Diyarbakir where they conducted ID checks on passengers in cars, the report said.
Two sergeants and two lieutenants were forced out of a vehicle and kidnapped, said the report, adding that the PKK militants also set three cars on fire.
Special teams from the Turkish security forces have launched an operation to rescue the kidnapped soldiers, said the report.
A group affiliated to the PKK held a demonstration against the demolition of some PKK members' graves in the Yuksekova town.
The demonstration soon turned into violent clashes between the protesters and police, two people were severely injured and later died at a hospital.
Hakkari's Governor Office confirmed the deaths, saying that an investigation has been launched into the incident.
Tensions are running high in the region as relatives of the two victims have gathered in front of the hospital.
The Turkish authorities started peace negotiations with the PKK in October 2012, which led to a ceasefire in March, and the PKK fighters started to return in May to their strongholds in northern Iraq.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and some other countries, took up arms in 1984 in an attempt to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Since then, over 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving the group.