Kurdish PKK Says Withdrawal of Forces From Turkey to Start May 8

Militants of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will start withdrawing from Turkey on May 8, the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency said today, citing senior PKK commander Murat Karayilan.

Karayilan, addressing dozens of journalists on the main PKK camp on Mount Qandil in northern Iraq, said the withdrawal would be gradual as long as there are no attacks on his militants, Firat reported.

The announcement came as Turkey’s civilian and military leaders gathered for a National Security Council meeting in Ankara, NTV television said.

PKK separatists have rejected a call by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to lay down their weapons during the withdrawal.

Turkey is in dialogue with the PKK’s imprisoned chief, Abdullah Ocalan, in an effort to end fighting by the PKK that has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.

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