Turkey: No security guarantees for PKK

April 19, 2013 at 9:58 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, April 19 (UPI) -- There are no security guarantees afforded to members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party as they seek to leave Turkey, the Turkish Interior Ministry said.

Abdullah Ocalan, jailed leader of the militant group know by its Kurdish initials PKK, called on militants to lay down their weapons and leave Turkish territory.

The Interior Ministry said the military wasn't committing to reaching a deal with PKK leaders to ensure their protection as they leave the country, Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman reports.

The ministry said it's not in the position to send orders to provincial governors concerning the militants.

The PKK has fought the Turkish government since the 1980s, seeking more recognition for Kurdish rights. Their operations have focused on the southern border with Iraq and along the eastern border with Iran.

The European Parliament this week passed a resolution recognizing Turkey for taking steps to resolve the PKK issue. Turkey has sought to establish a closer relationship with the European Union.

Kurdish lawmakers said a withdrawal was imminent, though Today's Zaman reports a formal withdrawal was expected in late 2013.

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