Thursday, April 25, 2013

PKK commander announces withdrawal from Turkey in May

Kurdistan Workers' Party soldiers, commonly kn...
Kurdistan Workers' Party soldiers, commonly known as PKK near the Iran/Iraqi Kurdistan border (Photo credit: james_gordon_losangeles)
ANKARA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) will begin withdrawing from Turkish territory on May 8, a senior leader at the PKK's base in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq announced Thursday, according to Turkish media.

The withdrawal, to be in phases, will be finalized "as soon as possible" and in secrecy, Murat Karayilan said at a press conference in his base, which shelters nearly 5,000 militants.

The PKK militants will be relocated in northern Iraq, and use their usual route during the withdrawal in an organized and disciplined way to avoid any clashes, he said, adding that any military operations against the militants could delay the pullout and cause PKK's retaliation.

Time of clashes in the Middle East has ended, the PKK commander said.

Ankara has been holding peace negotiations with Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned leader of the PKK, since last October. Turkey insisted that the PKK must first lay down their arms and leave the Turkish territory.

On March 21, Ocalan finally made a historic call for PKK's ceasefire and withdrawal, which was positively responded by his militant group.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and part of the international community, took up arms in 1984 in an attempt to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Since then, some 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving the group.

2013-04-25 21:04:49

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