Erdogan offers PKK to disarm in return for govt. mediation

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The Turkish Prime Minister says his government will mediate between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the country’s intelligence agency if the Kurdish fighters lay down arms.

Speaking in the Kurdish majority province of Siirt on Saturday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out a general amnesty to members of the PKK, saying Ankara will not pardon those who have blood on their hands.

Erdogan repeated his call for locals to support his government's peace effort and reiterated Ankara’s opposition to separatist ethnic movements or anything that challenged Turkey’s integrity.

“We won’t give credit to those who want to split us. We won’t give credit to terrorism,” he said.

There are reports that the Turkish secret service has started a new round of peace talks with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who has been serving a life sentence at a prison on an island off Istanbul since his capture in 1999.

In December 2012, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization started negotiations with the PKK with an ultimate goal of disarming the movement.

However, a local daily's report on the content of the meeting between Ocalan and three Kurdish deputies put a damper on the negotiations process.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region since the 1980s. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead.


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