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Truce with Turkey implemented by PKK

March 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, March 23 (UPI) -- The head of a Kurdish separatist group in Iraq declared a cease-fire in its long-running conflict with neighboring Turkey, starting Saturday.

Murat Karayilan told his troops by walkie-talkie Friday hostilities would be halted, and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) could withdraw from Turkish territory provided the Turks take part in a permanent settlement to their disputes.

"We declare a cease-fire starting on March 23. If the (Turkish) parliament and government do the legal groundwork for a commission, we could withdraw (from Turkey)," Karayılan said in a video broadcast show in Germany, Turkey's Daily Hurriyet said.

Karayilan's announcement came in the wake of a cease-fire proposed earlier this month by Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the PKK in Turkey. Ocalan said publicly the truce would set the stage for a "new era" in Turkey's relations with its ethnic Kurds, the newspaper said.

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