PKK says may stop withdrawal

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 A senior leader with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has made a fresh warning to the Turkish government, saying the organization could stop its retreat and send back withdrawn militants if Ankara launches any sort of operation against the group.

“We gave time to the Turkish government until Sept. 1. We haven’t seen any development until now. That means they don’t want to solve the problems,” said Cemil Bayık, a senior PKK leader, speaking after receiving petitions for the release of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is imprisoned for life on İmralı island. 

Bayık said they would stop their withdrawal from Turkish soil if the Turkish government failed to take action in the peace process, adding that they would respond to any military operation. “They want to make war. We will defend ourselves. If the operations start, we will defend ourselves against this. If the war starts and they attempt to destroy [the PKK], then we will send guerilla groups back [to Turkey],” said Bayık, the co-chief the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), the urban wing of the PKK. 

This is the second time Bayık has warned the Turkish government about an operation against the outlawed group. In an interview with the BBC’s Turkish service on Aug. 27, Bayık said they would continue to withdraw until Sept. 1 but that the process could be reversed on that day if the Turkish government did not take “necessary steps.

 

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