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.

 

France, US clash with Iran over changing nuclear accord

Saudi Arabia claims killing of Yemen rebel leader

EU to Russia, Iran: Bring Syria to peace talks

Iraq's Shiites split ahead of crucial vote

Iraq’s ex-football stars from sports to politics

Turkey opposition journalists demand acquittal in terror trial

UN says Syria blocking humanitarian aid to Douma

OPCW experts visit second site of alleged Douma gas attack

Israeli policeman gets 9 months jail for killing Palestinian

US court rules for Arab Bank in precedent-setting case

Lebanese candidates pay hefty price for media coverage

Madani’s resignation sheds light on Iranian power play

Kuwait expels Filipino ambassador over treatment of workers

Syria aid donations for 2018 fall short of amount hoped

Growing anti-war sentiment in the US Congress could spell trouble for Trump

Liverpool’s Salah wins Israeli defence minister’s plaudits

Body of assassinated Palestinian driven through Malaysian capital

'Gap in perceptions' threatens wider Middle East war

UNESCO picks Morocco for project on prevention of violent extremism

Syrian regime retakes region near Damascus from rebels

Mogherini: Iran deal 'needs to be preserved'

Syria rebels prepare as Assad sets sights on next target

Iran's Rouhani questions 'right' to seek new nuclear deal

Trump, Macron call for 'new' nuclear deal with Iran

Syria's Idlib 'big new challenge' for international community

UNRWA chief says Palestinian aid $200 million short since Trump cuts

Bad memories resurface at Raqa’s mass grave

Turkey newspaper chief slams journalist terror trial

Setback for Yemen rebels after strike takes out leader

Saudi issues Islamic sukuk sale to finance deficit

Yarmuk, an epicentre of Syria's bloody conflict

Egypt’s Eurobond succeeds but risks remain

Egypt former anti-corruption chief gets five years jail

Philippines apologises to Kuwait over 'maid rescues'

Iran urges EU not to pay Trump ‘ransom’ over nuclear deal

UAE to finance project to rebuild Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque

EU, UN begin major conference for Syria aid

New tensions rise between old rivals Turkey and Greece

Rouhani warns Trump against betraying nuclear deal

10 killed in Toronto “deliberate” van attack

Nine people killed in Toronto van attack

Yemen Huthi political leader killed in coalition raid

Syria security chief refuses Lebanon court appearance

Air raid kills dozens at Yemen wedding

Algeria draws Europe’s ire by cutting imports, boosting trade with China