Erdoğan: Military operations will stop if PKK lays down arms

Erdoğan: Military operations will stop if PKK lays down arms

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded to questions by reporters on April 20, 2012 in Doha. (Photo: Cihan)

April 20, 2012, Friday/ 15:08:00/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the Turkish military would “completely” halt military operations against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) if the organization were to lay down its arms.

“The separatist terrorist organization should lay down its arms. This is our call. The stance of the Turkish state is clear once they lay down their arms. It is [our stance] to completely stop military operations. But it is out of question for operations to end unless the organization lays down its arms,” Erdoğan said on Friday while responding to questions from reporters in Doha.

When asked whether he discussed the issue with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani during a meeting on Thursday, the Turkish prime minister said although they did not discuss it, he did say the issue of the PKK's laying down its arms is always on Turkey's agenda in talks with northern Iraq's regional administration.

Barzani arrived in Turkey for a two-day visit on Thursday and met with Erdoğan in İstanbul on the same day. He also had talks with President Abdullah Gül and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Friday.

Turkey has been fighting the PKK since 1984 and as many as 40,000 people have died since then. Turkey has demanded active support from the Kurdish regional administration in the fight against the terrorist organization, which has several bases in northern Iraq, including its main base in the Kandil Mountains

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