Kurdish fighters stop withdrawing from Turkey: Report

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has stopped withdrawing its fighters from Turkey due to the inaction of Ankara over the “resolution of the Kurdish problem,” a report says.

The “Turkish government’s attitude of not progressing on the Kurdish question was behind this situation,” a PKK statement read, pro-Kurdish Firat news agency reported on Monday.

It added that the Turkish government has failed to take steps toward “democratization and the resolution of the Kurdish problem.”

The armed militant group, however, pledged to respect the truce with Turkish troops.

“While the withdrawal is halted, the ceasefire position will be maintained so as to give (the ruling) AK Party an opportunity to take steps in line with Leader Apo (Abdullah Ocalan)’s project,” it said.

The Turkish government reached a truce agreement with former PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in March, halting a 28-year armed struggle between the two sides. The truce called on the PKK militants to lay down their arms and retreat to northern Iraq.

In May, the PKK announced that it was withdrawing from Turkey to settle in bases in northern Iraq as part of the peace deal.

Ocalan, who had been captured by Turkish security forces in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in 1999, is serving a life sentence at Imrali Island prison on charges of leading the PKK in its armed campaign against Ankara.

The PKK appointed new leaders in July. According to local media, Cemil Bayik, a close ally of imprisoned Ocalan, and Bese Hozat, who led the PKK women’s wing, were named as the group’s new leaders.

The new PKK leadership later threatened to call off the historic truce between the group and the Turkish government if Ankara does not change its approaches toward the militants.

The PKK’s new commander recently said the situation is changing and the PKK militants will not lay down their arms.

Murat Karayilan, the new leader of the group’s military wing, criticized the lack of concessions from Ankara, saying the Turkish military was still active in parts of Kurdish-populated southern Turkey.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s.

By Press TV


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