Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kurdish rebels "ready to re-enter Turkey from Iraq"
Kurdish rebels (Beta/AP, file)

Kurdish rebels are ready to re-enter Turkey from northern Iraq, a founding member of the PKK and the head of its political wing, Cemil Bayik, told Reuters.


The news agency said that, speaking from his "mountain hideout," Bayik threatened to rekindle an insurgency "unless Ankara resuscitates their peace process soon."

Accusing Turkey of waging a proxy war against Kurds in Syria by backing Islamist rebels fighting them in the north, he said the PKK "had the right to retaliate."

Turkey "strongly denies backing any rebel faction against Kurds in Syria and has held regular talks with the head of a Syrian Kurdish group close to the PKK," Reuters reported.

A ceasefire was called in March between the Kurdish rebels and Turkey, and the guerillas were to retreat to Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, "but the withdrawal was suspended last month as the rebels said Ankara had not held up its side of the bargain."

"The process has come to an end. Either they accept deep and meaningful negotiations with the Kurdish movement, or there will be a civil war in Turkey," Bayik told the news agency.

He said that as prerequisites, Turkey "must improve the conditions in which (PKK leader Abdullah) Ocalan is being held and deal with him on equal terms, guarantee amendments to the constitution and enlist a third party to oversee any further steps in the process."

"At a time when the Turkish government is helping the bandit groups and is waging a war on the people of West Kurdistan... it is the right of the Kurdish people to bring the fight to Turkey," Bayik said, referring to the northeastern corner of Syria.

"If the Turkish government wants to insist on fighting, North Kurdistan is the field of war," he said.

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