World Bulletin/News Desk
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said a planned withdrawal of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants from Turkey after a ceasefire was established would begin the process of ending a conflict which has killed more than 40,000 people.
The premier, criticised for negotiating with Ocalan - a man reviled by most Turks, called for national unity on peace efforts.
Ocalan, head of the PKK, has been holding peace talks with Turkey since last October and met a delegation of Kurdish politicians at the weekend to discuss the negotiations.
At those talks, on the island of Imrali near Istanbul, he signalled the PKK may release Turkish state officials it is holding, according to a statement read by the politicians. Several newspapers on Monday reported details of a timetable to end the conflict.
In his first comments since the weekend talks, Erdogan said on Monday that a militant pullout would be a turning point, followed by a process of bringing the militants down from the mountains in northern Iraq where they are based.
"The withdrawal of terrorists in Turkey to a second country will mean the effective beginning of this process," he told reporters on his plane back from a trip to Dubai, acknowledging there were risks of a backlash against negotiating with Ocalan.
"If other sections of society share the risk we are taking, and the media is important in this, we will speed up our progress," Turkish PM said.
He said Mahmur Camp issue was a process that should be solved with the UN.
On Syria, Erdogan said the territorial integrity of Syria was very important for them, adding that they would not want problems in Iraq should not take place in Syria. Erdogan stated that they would not let the formation of a "North Syria", adding that would give Turkey "different rights and authorizations".
Last Mod: 25 Şubat 2013, 14:42