First Published: 2013-01-22

 

Erdogan to Kurdish rebels: Lay down arms and get safe passage

 

Turkish PM says his government is determined to settle three-decade Kurdish conflict, will guarantee safe passage for rebels wishing.

 

Middle East Online

‘You are free to go to any country you like’

ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday his government was determined to settle the three-decade Kurdish conflict and would guarantee safe passage for rebels wishing to leave the country.

"If you are sincere and honest, you lay down your arms," Erdogan told his ruling party lawmakers in parliament, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"If you don't want to live in this country, you are free to go to any country you like. We assure you that ... we'll do our best not to let what happened at our borders before happen again," he said.

Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran all have Kurdish minorities in regions straddling their common borders.

In the past there have been clashes between Turkey's security forces and the PKK as they were leaving the country for northern Iraq where the group enjoys safe haven.

Ankara has acknowledged that a fresh round of talks was being held between Turkey's secret services and the jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan with the ultimate aim of disarming the rebels.

Turkish media have speculated that the nascent talks have produced a roadmap to end the long-running insurgency in Turkey, which has claimed 45,000 lives, mostly Kurdish. But the reported roadmap has not been confirmed by either party.

Erdogan's remarks came as six PKK rebels -- including two women -- were killed in clashes with Turkish security forces near the Syrian border, a security source said.

The conflict erupted in the village of Dogancay in the southeast some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the Syrian border and was continuing, the source added.

Erdogan said his government wanted peace but would not make concessions on fighting against "terrorists".

"We have opened our hearts to our Kurdish brothers. We did not drop bombs on them. We are dropping bombs on terrorists," Erdogan said.

"Today and tomorrow our fight against terrorists will persevere. There is no concession there."

The PKK, which took up arms for autonomy in the Kurdish majority southeast in 1984, is branded as a terrorist group by much of the international community in addition to Turkey.

 

Iraq dismisses US call for Iranian-backed militias to 'go home'

Opposition calls on Iraqi Kurd leader to step down

IS ‘executed’ 116 suspected of Syria regime collaboration

Israel arrests 51 Palestinians for ‘terror-related’ crimes

Greening the Camps brings food and hope to refugees

UNICEF says 1,100 children malnourished in Syria’s Ghouta

UN says Yemen children in desperate need of aid

Orthodox Jews block Jerusalem entrance in protest

Six terror suspects arrested in Morocco

EU announces 106 million euros in aid for Sudan

French judges to rule on whether 'Jihad' is acceptable name

Saudi Aramco chief confirms IPO despite doubts

Lack of accountability hinders governing in Morocco, analysts say

Sudan editor convicted after Bashirs accused of graft

Russia’s Lavrov urges Iraq-Kurd dialogue

Kurds to arrest 11 Iraqis in response to similar Baghdad move

Car bomb attack kills 9 in south Yemen military base

Rouhani boasts about Iran’s greatness in region

Iraq unrest highlights long-standing political divisions

Bahrain temporarily frees female activist

Egypt court sentences 11 people to death for 'terrorism'

Israel police arrest 15 over anti Jewish-Arab dating campaign

Tillerson woos Gulf allies to curb Iran influence

Abadi, Sadr meet in Jordan

No clear US strategy in Syria after Raqqa liberation

Tillerson pushes to undercut Iran at landmark Saudi, Iraq meeting

Gulf share values plummet

US-backed forces capture key Syria oil field

More than half of Austrians vote for anti-immigration party

Washington sees potential Hezbollah threat in the US

UN ends Libya talks with no progress made

Cairo killing sparks security concerns among Copts

Iraq PM arrives in Saudi to upgrade ties

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike