Turkey tells PKK to lay down its arms

Sept. 23, 2009 at 12:30 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Turkish military leaders called on Kurdish guerrillas to lay down their arms in an effort to find a settlement to the so-called Kurdish question.

Gen. Ilker Basbug, the top Turkish military commander, called on the Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK, to lay down its weapons for peace, Iraq's al-Sumaria satellite channel reports.

"We cannot reach a solution with guns and blood," he said. "The only solution is that the terrorist organization lays down its weapons."

He cautioned, however, that his forces would continue their fight against the separatist rebels as long as the PKK continues to fight.

Washington and its European allies list the PKK as a terrorist group for its militant activity in a region that encompasses parts of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

Turkey is struggling to find a political solution to the Kurdish dilemma following decades of protracted conflict with the PKK.

Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV reports at least one Turkish soldier was killed in fighting with PKK rebels this week in the southeastern Turkish province of Hakkari, which sits close to the borders of Iran and Iraq.

The report states as many as three PKK rebels were killed in the fighting as well.

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