Turkey: Ankara to end anti-PKK offensive if fighters lay down arms: PM

21.03.2013 - PressTV

Turkey: Ankara to end anti-PKK offensive if fighters lay down arms: PM
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Image by Photo: PressTV)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the country’s military will end operations against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) forces if the group stops fighting.

“If there are no more armed actions our troops will not undertake armed actions,” Erdogan told reporters the Netherlands.

The comment came hours after jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan announced a ceasefire with Ankara and called on his fighters to lay down their arms.

“We have reached the point where weapons should be silent and ideas and politics should speak,” Ocalan said in a letter read out by a Kurdish lawmaker to cheering crowds in Diyarbakir, a Kurdsish majority city in the southeast of Turkey.

“A new phase in our struggle is beginning. Now a door is opening to a phase where we are moving from armed resistance to an era of democratic political struggle,” he added.

“I find it a positive approach, but it is important how it will be applied in reality,” Erdogan said at a press conference following talks with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte.

In December, Turkey admitted it had embarked on negotiations with Ocalan with the aim of persuading his Kurdistan Workers’ Party to disarm.

Erdogan said he was putting his faith in the peace process “even if it costs me my political career,” in the face of charges by the nationalist opposition that accused him of “treason.”

Ocalan’s much-expected call for ceasefire is hoped to put an end to three decades of conflict between Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has been fighting for self-rule for Kurds in southeastern Turkey.

The original article can be found on the PressTV website, here.

Categories: International, Middle East, Peace and Disarmament, Politics
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