PKK poised to release Turkish abductees: Interior minister

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has informed the Turkish government of its decision to release kidnapped Turkish officials as part of renewed peace talks aimed at ending three decades of hostility.

Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler said on Monday that the PKK plans to hand over the captives to a pro-PKK parliamentary delegation on Tuesday.

“I hope they will unite with their families,” AFP quoted the Turkish minister as saying.

The abductees are to be handed over to a delegation of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in northern Iraq where the PKK has safe havens.

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.

On January 9, the Turkish government and the PKK reached an agreement on a peace roadmap.

Under the reported roadmap, the Turkish government would grant wider rights to the 15-million-strong Kurds.

The Kurdish rebels demand that Turkey recognize Kurdish identity in its new Constitution. They also want the release of hundreds of activists imprisoned for links to the PKK.

The PKK 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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