PKK Kurdish rebels offer ceasefire to Ankara

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Media: AFP
Byline: N/A
Date: 23 August 2006

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq, Aug 23, 2006 (AFP) - Iraq-based Kurdish separatists from
the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) have offered a conditional ceasefire to
Turkey, one of the rebel group's leaders said Wednesday.

"We are ready to observe a ceasefire and opt for a peaceful and democratic
settlement to the Kurdish issues in Turkey," the group's second-in-command,
Murad Karialan, told AFP

He said the offer came in response to "many requests by the government of
Kurdistan of Iraq and the other Kurdish circles, and responding to the US
State Department."

"There must be a political project so that we can start dialogue," Karialan

"We are ready for a ceasefire on September 1 coinciding with World Peace
Day. Turkey should be ready to respond and flexible in this regard," he

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Saturday assured Turkish leaders that
his country will not be a sanctuary for the PKK.

"We will not allow Iraq to serve as a base for the PKK," Maliki reportedly
told Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a telephone

Maliki also indicated that Iraq would continue to work with the United
States and neighboring Turkey in its fight against the outlawed PKK,
considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, Washington and the European

Turkey last month threatened to intervene militarily at the Iraqi border
against PKK camps there if Baghdad and Washington failed to take action.

Turkey has long complained about the PKK using camps in northern Iraq as
rear bases for its attacks in southeast Turkey, where it is fighting for
Kurdish self-rule.

Thousands of PKK members have settled in northern Iraq's Kurdistan region
since 1999, when the group declared a ceasefire after the arrest of the
separatist movement's chief, Abdullah Ocalan, who is serving a life prison

The ceasefire was broken in June 2004. Fighting between Turkish security
forces and PKK rebels has claimed more than 37,000 lives since the start of
the insurrection in 1984.

Karialan made a similar offer in June last year, saying "We appeal to the
Turkish government, asking it to end military operations in order to open
the path of dialogue, and we are ready, on our side, to decree a ceasefire."