Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Al Jazeera: PKK fighters in 'peace' initiative

Thousands of Kurds have rallied across Turkey as a Kurdish "peace group" arrived from Iraq to show support for Ankara's plans to end the 25-year conflict between Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The group's 34 members, including eight PKK fighters, were greeted in Turkey by thousands of Kurds waving Kurdish flags, singing, dancing and holding up banners calling for peace as they walked through the Habur gate on the border between the two countries.

The trip, which was reported inside Turkey as a surrender of the PKK, was orchestrated by Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, in a bid to help advance Ankara's peace initiative, details of which the government has not released.

Abdullah Gul, the Turkish president, welcomed the PKK's move.

"I hope this opportunity will not be missed," he told Turkish state television. "It's not possible to struggle against an enormous state, the Turkish state, and to live in the mountains for a lifetime," he said.

All of the group were taken in for questioning as four prosecutors sent to meet the party determined whether those held had committed any crimes.