Accessibility links

Breaking News

Kurdish Rebels Propose To Disarm If Turkey Meets Conditions

PKK leader Murat Karayilan in a 2009 file photo
The leader of separatist Kurdish rebels who have been locked in a guerrilla war against Turkey is quoted as saying his fighters will disarm if the Turkish government meets certain conditions.

Speaking to the BBC in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Murat Karayilan said he would order his fighters to lay down their weapons, under the supervision of the United Nations, if Turkey agreed to a cease-fire and to conditions including an end to attacks on Kurdish civilians and arrests of Kurdish politicians in eastern Turkey.

The rebels have also been seeking more linguistic and cultural rights for Turkish Kurds. Karayilan said, however, that if the Turkish government ignores his peace offer, the PKK may have to declare independence.

The BBC quoted a Turkish government official as saying Turkey's government was "not in the habit of commenting on statements made by terrorists."

The PKK has been formally designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, as well as the European Union and the United States.

Some 45,000 people have been killed in the past 26 years of conflict involving Turkey and the PKK.

compiled from media and agency reports