Kurdish PKK rebels warns of escalation of violence across Turkey

'The Kurds will defend themselves to the end' - PKK leader Cemil Bayik

Matt Payton
Monday 25 April 2016 18:43
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Armed PKK members man a barricade in the Sur district of Diyarbakir
Armed PKK members man a barricade in the Sur district of Diyarbakir

Kurdish rebels have warned President Recep Tayyip Erdogan they will "escalate the war" in Turkey until their rights are accepted.

The leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Cemil Bayik, said the group is willing to negotiate but not surrender in the wake of growing violence between the two sides.

Mr Bayik said: "The Kurds will defend themselves to the end, so long as this is the Turkish approach of course the PKK will escalate the war.

"We don't want to separate from Turkey and set up a state.

"We don't want to divide Turkey. We want to live within the borders of Turkey on our own land freely...The struggle will continue until the Kurds' innate rights are accepted."

A spokesman for the Turkish President responded by stating there was no chance of negotiation with the PKK "at the moment".

Ilnur Cevik told the BBC the PKK is "trying to create a separate state in Turkey this is outright secession".

He said: "We are going to struggle right to the bitter end to stop this. And the Turkish people are now determined public opinion polls say. They say, 'don't stop'."

A two-year-long ceasefire between Turkey and PKK broke down last July.

The PKK is reported to chave carried out numerous attacks on Turkish soil, while President Erdogan has responded by launching air strikes on rebel bases in northern Iraq.

In March, 37 people were killed and at least 125 injured in a bomb attack on Ankara. The Kuristan Freedom Hawks, an offshoot of the PKK, claimed responsibility for the killings.

The Turkish government has previously vowed to "liquidate" the PKK, which it considers a terrorist organisation along with the European Union and the United States

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