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 Kurdish PKK rebels end cease-fire in Turkey 

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Kurdish PKK rebels end cease-fire in Turkey  28.2.2011  

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February 28, 2011

QANDIL MOUNTAINS, Turkey-Iraqi Kurdistan frontier, — The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has called off a unilateral cease-fire with Turkey, according to a statement published on Monday by the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency.

The PKK had announced a cease-fire on August 13, before the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and extended it in November.

It was the latest of several cease-fires that the group had announced and honoured for various length of time since 2005.

The Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), a group considered to be the urban branch of the PKK, said in a statement that the PKK was abandoning the cease-fire because of the failure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to deal with Kurdish issues.             

Kurdish PKK rebels end cease-fire in Turkey
But KCK said the guerrillas will now attack the Turkish army but will stay in a self-defense position. “Our guerrilla units will follow an active-defense strategy” the statement read.

Active-defence means -as previously defined by the PKK- that Kurdish guerrillas may target the military if there is a preparation of an attack and can make retaliatory attacks.

KCK listed the reasons which led it to end the unilateral ceasefire as follows:

1- The operations against the Kurdish guerrillas and politicians continued but the number of the operations were lower than usual due to the season.

2- The demand of Kurdish politicians to defend themselves in their mother language was not recognized by the Turkish courts. Their right to defend themselves were denied, no one was released and the trial became a political trial.

3- The prison conditions of our leader Abdullah Ocalan was not improved. The dialogue between him and the state did now reach to a level of negotiations.

4- Although there are excavations of mass graves no Truth Commission was formed.

5- Turkish government did not lower the election threshold.

KCK called all the democratic political powers to show united stance against the Turkish government.

In 2009 the AKP launched an initiative called the "Kurdish opening," aimed at addressing the problems faced by Turkey's Kurdish minority,
www.ekurd.netbut the initiative stalled politically and produced few concrete results.

Turkey is gearing up for general elections in June. If the end of the cease-fire sparks an increase in violence, it could potentially sway public opinion and affect the outcome of the elections.

The statement said the organization would "defend itself more effectively against attacks but not attack."

Although the group initially sought to establish an independent Kurdish state, it now says it is fighting for increased political and cultural rights for Kurds in Turkey.

During the six months prior to the August cease-fire, clashes between the group and the Turkish army, as well as bombing raids on PKK camps by Turkey's air force, led to the deaths of dozens of soldiers and militants.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK president, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

PKK demanded to stop military and political operations and to release Kurdish politicians who are unjustly detained. The organization also requested to enable imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's active participation in the process.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.
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