Kurdish rebel chief to abandon peace efforts

Kurdish rebel chief to abandon peace efforts
# 29 May 2010 23:12 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Imprisoned Kurdish rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan accused Turkey of ignoring his calls to establish talks with his rebels and said he would withdraw from the peace process, a Kurdish newspaper reported Saturday, APA reports quoting news.yahoo.com website.
Ocalan’s announcement that he would formally abandon his efforts and leave his rebel command in charge comes amid new clashes between Kurdish guerrillas and the Turkish military.
Kurdish rebels killed two soldiers and three pro-government village guards in two separate clashes Saturday near the Iraqi border, the state run Anatolia news agency said. Turkey’s military killed at least 24 Kurdish rebels in an airstrike on rebel hideouts in northern Iraq last week and separate clashes this week.
"I am withdrawing after May 31 since I could not find an interlocutor," Ocalan was quoted as saying on the website of the Ozgur Politika newspaper.
Ocalan has been influential over his rebel command based in northern Iraq and unsuccessfully pressured Turkey to establish dialogue with his rebels, who are branded as terrorists by the United States and the European Union.
Ocalan said his rebel command would be in charge of the process, along with a pro-Kurdish political party that struggles for Kurdish rights.
"From now on, the PKK might reconcile with the state and find a solution or they might get stuck. Or it is possible that the PKK might be defeated and lose the war or be abolished," Ocalan said. "We can’t know what would happen after the war."
The clashes picked up after Turkey’s highest court shut down a pro-Kurdish party in December for links to Kurdish rebels, complicating the government’s efforts to reconcile with the minority Kurds to end the 26-year-old conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.
Turkey has urged Iraq to eradicate Kurdish rebel bases to prevent hit-and-run attacks on Turkish targets. The rebels took up arms in 1984.