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Saturday, August 29, 1998 Published at 19:28 GMT 20:28 UK


World: Europe

Turkey ignores Kurd cease-fire

The PKK has led a violent campaign in Turkey for 14 years

The Turkish government says it will not respond to the announcement of a unilateral cease-fire by the Kurdish separatist movement, the PKK, which has been waging a 14-year guerrilla campaign in the south-east of the country.


[ image: Abdullah Ocalan: Now committed to peaceful means]
Abdullah Ocalan: Now committed to peaceful means
The PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, says the Kurdish question should now be settled peacefully. Mr Ocalan lives in exile, reportedly spending most of his time in Syria and Lebanon.

He said the cease-fire would come into effect on Tuesday - although his fighters would defend themselves if attacked.

However, the Prime Minister, Mesut Yilmaz, said Turkey would never agree to negotiate with the PKK and Mr Ocalan should give himself up.


Chris Morris reports from the Turkish capital, Ankara
Mr Yilmaz said that if Mr Ocalan is trying to create a political platform in Europe, his efforts will be in vain.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, said the PKK had called cease-fires before, but its operations continued and its men were still up in the mountains.


[ image: Prime Minister Yilmaz: Turkey will never negotiate with PKK]
Prime Minister Yilmaz: Turkey will never negotiate with PKK
The BBC's Ankara Correspondent, Chris Morris, says the PKK does seem to be trying to focus attention on political argument in the run-up to a general election which is due to take place next April.

The rebel movement has indicated that it is prepared to consider a political solution involving autonomy which would preserve the unity of the Turkish state.

But our correspondent says most Turks will still distrust its intentions and, in particular, the armed forces refuse to consider any move which could be interpreted as a compromise with the PKK.

There are estimated to be some 12 million people of Kurdish origin living in Turkey.

Kurds also live in Iraq, Iran and Syria.



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