PKK: 'We will not disarm'

M. Karayilan, one of the leaders of PKK, said we will not disarm under the U.S.A pressure for ``political project'' that fulfills their calls for autonomy.

PKK: 'We will not disarm'

A leader of Kurdish terrorists battling Turkey's government said in a rare interview that his guerrillas will not give in to U.S. pressure to disarm without a ``political project'' that fulfills their calls for autonomy.

The Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, invited a group of journalists to meet with party officials late Wednesday in the rugged, isolated Qandil Mountain in Iraq's northeast corner where the group is based.

``We will remain in the Qandil Mountains area and any demand to disarm without a political project is tantamount to suicide for us,'' said PKK co-president Murat Karayilan, who has seldom met in person with the media.

Kurdish rebels ``will not repeat the mistake'' of offering an unconditional cease-fire, Karayilan told the reporters, who were brought to the clandestine site following an hour-long ride on winding mountain roads aboard a rebel-operated bus.

The PKK called a unilateral cease-fire after the capture of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, in 1999, but resumed fighting in June 2004, accusing Turkey of not responding in kind and refusing rebel calls for dialogue.

The group has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast, a conflict that has left some 37,000 dead since clashes began in 1984.

But in recent months, the conflict has escalated after the group, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, renewed its offensive against the Turkish military, killing at least 15 Turks in the southeast in the first half of July.

The PKK charges that the Turkish military has been shelling villages in Qandil Mountain, killing civilians and displacing thousands of villagers.

Talking to reporters in Iraq, Karayilan urged the United States to intervene.

``We respect the American calls for disarmament, but the Americans must intervene to come up with a political solution for the Kurdish problem in Turkey,'' he said, sitting in a room plastered with photos of Ocalan and PKK flags. ``The Turkish military deployment on the border should stop, the attacks against us should come to an end.''

He added that if the Turkish government wanted to end the crisis, it should ``show signs of goodwill'' by at least improving the conditions of Ocalan's detention and starting negotiations.

Last month, the Turkish prime minister said his country's military was moving forward in drafting plans to sending forces into Iraq to clear out the bases of the Kurdish guerillas. But he also added that officials were holding talks with the United States and Iraq in an attempt to defuse tensions.

A Turkish cross-border operation would likely inflame tensions between Turkey and the United States and destabilize one of the few calm areas of Iraq.

Karayilan said his 6,000 fighters will not leave the strategic border area, and that if they did, it will be taken over by Ansar al-Islam, a radical Islamic group linked to al-Qaida.

``We should be thanked for maintaining security in this rugged, porous border area that's very difficult to control,'' he said, explaining that Ansar al-Islam has been imposing a strict brand of Islam on villages along the border with Iran which served as their base".


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16