PKK puts conditions for Ramadan ceasefire in Turkey

Kurdish militants from outlawed PKK announced a ceasefire against Turkish forces until Sept. 20, a PKK official said.

PKK puts conditions for Ramadan ceasefire in Turkey

 

Kurdish militants from outlawed the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) announced a ceasefire against Turkish forces until Sept. 20, a PKK official said on Friday.

A lasting ceasefire was possible if Turkey stopped military operations, released some 1,700 PKK-link detainees and started a peace process, PKK official Bozan Tekin told reporters in the mountains near the Turkish border.

"The PKK announces a conditional ceasefire," Tekin said, citing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as a reason for the move.

The announcement came days after Turkey said suspected PKK rebels had blown up a pipeline in southeastern Turkey carrying Iraqi oil.

Asked if the rebels were targeting pipelines, Tekin said: "Yes, our troops have done that. It's part of our self defence. Oil is not just related to the economy but has been turned into a weapon against us," he said, without elaborating.

Tekin also said: "We believe that a ceasefire at this time might have positive results towards developing a political and peaceful solution."

The Turkish government has in the past rejected the PKK's unilateral ceasefire declarations saying a ceasefire assumes two legal parties in conflict.

The militants called off a unilateral, 14-month ceasefire in June. More than 100 military personnel have been killed since March, exceeding the death toll throughout all of 2009.

More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have been killed since the PKK took up arms against Turkey in 1984 for an independent homeland. The rebels say they now want greater rights and autonomy for Turkey's estimated 15 million Kurds.

Turkey has launched several cross border operations into the north of Iraq in the past to track down PKK militants, who took refuge at the their mountain camps there. The militant group uses the region as a launchpad for its attacks inside Turkey.

Turkey's government is under pressure to clamp down on violence ahead of parliamentary elections due in July 2011.

Turkish special forces captured the PKK's leader, Abdullah Ocalan, in 1999 after forcing him to abandon his refuge in Syria.

Reuters

Last Mod: 14 Ağustos 2010, 14:00
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