The military chief of Kurdish rebels launching attacks into Turkey from hideouts in Iraq said his group will not lay down its arms until there is a political settlement between the Turkish government and the militants, according to an audio tape released Saturday.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani repeated his call this week for the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, to stop fighting or leave Iraq. He made the call Monday during a visit by Turkish President Abdullah Gul.
"Our weapons are necessary because we are not dealing with a state that believes in democracy," PKK military chief Murat Karayilan said in an audio tape sent Saturday to Iraqi Kurdish journalists. "We are dealing with a state ruled by military generals. To abandon our arms without a political solution to our issues means suicide."
Karayilan spoke in response to written questions submitted by the journalists, who are familiar with the Kurdish rebel leader's voice.