Second phase of PKK withdrawal to start in fall

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Militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will start the second phase of their withdrawal from Turkey after the legal amendments from the Kurdish peace process package are enforced.

The PKK is expected to restart its withdrawal, which has been at a standstill since late 2013, this fall as soon as the government-led package is legally enforced.

Both sides are reportedly aiming to complete the process within 18 months.

The process has appeared to go into another phase since Interior Minister Efkan Ala’s recent suggestion that the PKK “is also willing to find a democratic solution, instead of weapons, when solutions are brought to table.”

A monitoring board is expected to be put into place with the enforcement of the new package, and the board will share its findings with the public via Parliament and the Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security.

The PKK will also state its conditions in complying with the “road map,” which was drawn up by meetings between the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and state officials.

The second withdrawal of the PKK will be open to legal supervision, unlike the first one that started on May 8, 2013.

It is not yet clear whether the PKK militants will leave their weapons on Turkish soil or will take it with them while they are withdrawing. The alternatives of leaving the arms in Turkey partially or completely are also said to still be on the agenda. If the arms are left in Turkey, the monitoring board will be responsible for whether they are stockpiled or destroyed.

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