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Leader: PKK to disarm if democratic Turkish peace process

Türkiye Materials 21 July 2010 18:52 (UTC +04:00)
The military leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) said his group is willing to disarm under United Nations supervision if Turkey offers a democratic approach to peace.
Leader: PKK to disarm if democratic Turkish peace process

The military leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) said his group is willing to disarm under United Nations supervision if Turkey offers a democratic approach to peace, DPA reported on Wednesday with the refference to the BBC.

Kurdish organizations have long accused Turkey of systematically discriminating against the ethnic group.

More than 42,000 people in Turkey have been killed over the last 25 years due to its war with the PKK. A series of attacks in the past few weeks have exacerbated the conflict.

"If the Kurdish issue is resolved in a democratic way through dialogue, we will lay down our weapons, yes. We will not carry arms," Murat Karayilan was quoted by the BBC as saying.

But he also followed up with a threat.

"If the Turkish government refuses to accept that, we will have to announce independence," he said.

Karayilan spoke to the broadcaster in northern Iraq. The PKK maintains several bases in the autonomous Kurdistan region, from which they have repeatedly launched attacks in Turkey.

The United States and the European Union consider the PKK to be a terrorist organization.

The governor of the eastern Turkish province of Agri on Wednesday accused the PKK of being involved in this week's attack on a gas pipeline leading from neighbouring Iran to the capital Ankara.

The explosion on Tuesday set the pipeline near Dogubeyazit on fire and destroyed several buildings. The operation of the pipeline had to be put on hold.

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