Kurd Rebels End Ceasefire against Turkey

DIYARBAKIR(Reuters)–Kurdish rebels said on Thursday they had ended a unilateral ceasefire against Turkey and said that now the European Union had opened entry talks with Ankara this was a problem not for Turkey but for the whole EU.

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels declared a one-month ceasefire in their fight against Turkish security forces in August and extended it till Oct. 3–the day Ankara won EU approval to start accession negotiations.

But Turkey’s government and armed forces ignored the call–just as they have ignored all previous ceasefires–and military operations against the rebels in the mainly Kurdish southeast continued unabated–the PKK said.

"It is certain that the Kurdish people will use their legitimate right of active defense and democratic resistance to protect themselves and their national honor against the increasing operations of destruction by the Turkish state," said a PKK statement.

The PKK’s ceasefire appeared to be an effort to get their case onto the political agenda during sensitive negotiations leading up to Turkey’s Oct. 3 date for the start of entry talks. But the move was met with little success.

"The lack of any mention in the EU’s negotiation framework agreement of a solution to the Kurdish problem–or even a single word about the continuing low-intensity war–is an endorsement of the Turkish state’s policy of denial," said the statement quoted by the Germany-based Mesopotamia news agency which is close to the rebels.

"With the start of the negotiations the Kurdish problem is no longer just Turkey’s problem–it is now a basic problem of the EU," the PKK statement said.

But it made no mention of attacking European targets. More than 30,000 people–most of them Kurds–have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 to fight for self-rule in Turkey’s southeast.

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