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Turkey: PKK cease-fire first step to peace

Feb. 23, 2013 at 3:21 PM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The Turkish government says it wants insurgents to lay down their arms as a first step in establishing a permanent cease-fire with the Kurdish separatists.

The announcement comes ahead of a planned visit by three members of the Peace and Democracy (BDP) party to Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, Hurriyet Daily News reported Saturday.

Yalcin Akdogan, chief adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the government's goal was to get the PKK to "lay down and bury its arms."

A milestone in the cease-fire process would be for the PKK to leave Turkey, he said.

Such a move, Akdogan said, would indicate "how much do they want and support this process."

Ocalan would give the BDP visitors letters to be taken to the PKK headquarters in the Kandil mountains, as well as a public statement, in which the imprisoned leader will call on the PKK to observe a cease-fire, the report said.

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