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Ankara Says It Will Not Attack Retreating PKK

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) chief Abdullah Ocalan (file photo)
Turkey has said its forces will show restraint when Kurdish rebels begin withdrawing from the country next month.

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) announced on April 25 that it will begin retreating from Turkey to their sanctuaries in northern Iraq on May 8.

The field leader of the rebel movement warned Turkey not to attack retreating rebels, otherwise it would risk jeopardizing the peace process.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on Turkish television on April 26 that the military would act with "great care and attention" during the group's pullout.

The withdrawal comes after the PKK's jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan ordered a ceasefire in March aimed at disarming the group.

The outlawed PKK has led a rebellion in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast since 1984.

The conflict has left around 40,000 people dead.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP