PKK extends unilateral cease-fire with Turkey

September 30, 2010 19:08

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — A leader of Kurdish rebels seeking greater autonomy in Turkey said Thursday the group will extend its unilateral cease-fire for another month in hopes of opening talks with Turkish leaders.

Murad Karialan, the co-president of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, said there is a possibility for an open-ended halt to attacks if Turkey agrees to concessions such as releasing jailed Kurdish politicians.

But Turkey has ignored all PKK cease-fire declarations in the past.

"If we feel there is positive response from the Turkish side, we will decide on an indefinite cease-fire," Karialan told reporters at a PKK base in Iraq's Qandil Mountains northwest of Sulaimaniyah.

The PKK began the cease-fire in mid-August to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The PKK has staged hit-and-run attacks on Turkish targets — mostly from bases in northern Iraq — in their decades-long campaign for autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting.

The group is labeled a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

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