Source AP ©

Christian cleric rescued in Turkey

A Christian cleric abducted earlier this week in southeast Turkey was rescued Friday, his friend said.

Assyrian cleric Daniel Savci was rescued by security forces in the province of Batman two days after he was abducted in nearby Mardin province, Gabriel Akkurt, another Assyrian cleric, told The Associated Press.

The kidnappers had called Akkurt after abducting Savci and demanded EUR300,000 (US$445,000) for the cleric's return.

Local news agency Dogan aired footage that showed Savci giving a hug to one of the Turkish soldiers after he was rescued.

"May our state, country and army be blessed," Savci said in the TV footage. "We are happy."

Akkurt said he did not know the details of the operation or whether any money was paid to the abductors.

Assyrians are a religious minority in Turkey, which is predominantly Muslim but secular.