PKK halts Turkey pullout to protest Ankara inaction

PKK halts Turkey pullout to protest Ankara inaction
Mon Sep 9, 2013 13:46:09

Turkey's Kurdish rebels have stopped withdrawing fighters from Turkish territory, citing Ankara’s inaction over the peace process.

In a statement cited by Firat News, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) armed movement said "the Turkish government's attitude of not progressing on the Kurdish question was behind this situation," but vowed to respect the ceasefire with Turkish forces.

The statement said, “The truce they announced on 23 March would remain in force”, underlining that this meant giving the Turkish government chance to take action in line with the project of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Öcalan was arrested in 1999 by Turkish security forces in Nairobi and taken to Turkey, where he was sentenced to death.

The sentence was commuted to aggravated life imprisonment when Turkey abolished the death penalty in support of its bid to be admitted to membership in theEuropean Union. From 1999 until 2009, he was the sole prisoner on the İmralı island, in the Sea of Marmara.

The statement critisized “increased construction of new military posts and dams in the Kurdish region after the achievement of a non-conflict environment”, saying that this meant the government focused on war but not a peaceful solution.

The Kurdish group also criticized the Turkish government for not asking Kurds' opinion while working on the democracy package which is expected to be announced soon.

Ankara insists on a full PKK withdrawal for peace talks to progress.

Under the deal, Turkey is expected to improve Kurdish rights, such as by scrapping a controversial anti-terrorism law and allowing Kurdish children to be educated in their own language.


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