The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey has denied reports on the withdrawal of its members from the country as part of a peace agreement with the Turkish government. The PKK said in a statement issued on Thursday that the stories on the subject were “completely invented lies.” On the same day, the Turkish daily Sabah reported that PKK members would pull out of the Turkish territories by the Kurdish new year on March 21. The paper added that Turkish officials had been negotiating with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan since late 2012, and he was expected to issue a call within ten days for the group to declare a ceasefire.
The statement by the PKK further said, “These stories are activities in a deliberate psychological war aimed at manipulation.”The statement also denied other reports by Turkish media that said Ankara was holding talks with the PKK members in northern Iraq. On January 9, the Turkish government and the Kurdish group reportedly agreed on a peace roadmap to end nearly three decades of hostility. Under the reported roadmap, Ankara would grant wider rights to the PKK. The group also demands that Turkey recognize Kurdish identity in its new constitution and release hundreds of activists jailed for links to the PKK. The group has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s. On January 30, a report released by a subcommittee under Turkish parliament’s Human Rights Research Commission put the number of casualties of the fighting between the Turkish army and the PKK at 35,576 over the past 30 years. MKA/HSN