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PKK announces withdrawal of militants from Turkey

April 25, 2013 at 3:05 PM

ARBIL, Turkey, April 25 (UPI) -- The Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, on Thursday announced that it plans to withdraw all of its militants from Turkey.

Murat Karayilan, the head of the PKK's armed wing, made the announcement during a press conference in Turkey's Kandil Mountains, Today's Zaman reported.

The withdrawal of PKK militants from Turkey is part of a settlement process for Kurds in Turkey reached through negotiations between Turkey's Justice and Development Party and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, Today's Zaman said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously said that the settlement process could start once the withdrawal of all PKK militants begins.

The PKK says it has about 7,000 militants -- about half of which are based in Turkey. The rest are in a mountainous region in northern Iraq.

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