Turkish PM renews call on PKK to lay down arms

Turkish PM renews call on PKK to lay down arms
# 27 February 2013 03:29 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan has renewed his call on the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to lay down its arms in what he describes as a precondition for the halting of military operations against the terrorist organization, APA reports quoting Todays Zaman.

Speaking at a press conference before his departure from Ankara EsenboÄŸa Airport for Austria, ErdoÄŸan said there are many places for the terrorists to be accommodated following a PKK withdrawal, stressing that the laying down of arms must be the first step for any progress in the peace process.

The ongoing peace efforts aimed at ending the decades-old Kurdish question, which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, and recent political developments with regard to the issue constituted the core of ErdoÄŸan's speech.

"As I previously noted, our main principles are quite straightforward and clear. We explained what we could do over this issue without allowing any doubt to emerge over our conduct. No one should expect any move that could harm our national unity, nor should they expect any sacrifice from us," ErdoÄŸan said.

"We disregarded the policies of denial prevalent in the past [with regard to Kurds]. Over our 10 years in power, we have extended significant rights, rights which had previously been denied to Kurds," ErdoÄŸan noted.

He reiterated the need for the laying down of arms in order for there to be progress and a settlement. ErdoÄŸan said anyone who had not engaged in any violent act would be allowed to reunite with their family as part of the government policy to end the conflict.

"If they lay down their arms and leave Turkey, there are many places and countries to go. They can go to a neighboring country or another country. That is up to them," ErdoÄŸan said.

The prime minister pointed out that the government has made moves while taking great risks and would continue to do so to make sure that national unity remains intact.