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Thursday, 2 May, 2002, 20:34 GMT 21:34 UK
Kurdish guerrillas to join terror list
PKK supporters protest against arrest of Abdullah Ocalan
The PKK has said it wants to campaign peacefully
The Kurdish separatist group, the PKK, is to be added to the European Union's list of groups branded as terrorists, diplomats said.

This will mean any assets the group has in Europe could be frozen.

We are here for peace, but if our freedom is taken from us we are here for the most horrendous resistance

PKK leader
The PKK - or Kurdistan Workers Party - has waged a 15-year war for self-rule in south-eastern Turkey, but recently announced it was changing its name and abandoning its armed struggle.

Senior members of the organisation have reacted angrily to the EU move, saying it could lead to renewed fighting.

The EU's original list was issued in December in the wake of the 11 September attacks in the United States.

More groups have been added to it to bring it into line with America's terrorist blacklist.

The updated list will be made public at 2200 GMT on Thursday.

More names added

Diplomats said other groups to be added to it include the left-wing Turkish guerrilla group the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front-Party (DHKP-C).

It also includes several individuals, most of whom are members of the Basque separatist group ETA.

The violent phase of the Kurdish struggle in Turkey all but ended with the capture and imprisonment of the PKK's leader, Abdullah Ocalan, in 1999.

Since then, the organisation has been using political means to influence both the Turkish Government and the EU.

Last month, the PKK relaunched itself as the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (Kadek).

PKK fighters
PKK leaders warn that Kurds across Europe could be outraged
It said it was ending its armed struggle and would campaign peacefully for greater rights for Kurds in south-eastern Turkey.

However, Kadek spokesman Riza Erdogan has said the organisation would not be disbanding its armed wing, and the Turkish Government has denounced the name-change as meaningless.

Osman Ocalan, a senior commander of the group and brother of the imprisoned leader, said the EU would "start a new process of war by including the Kurdish liberation movement in the list of terrorist organisations".

Another senior leader told the Mezopotamya News Agency - which is close to the movement: "We are here for peace, but if our freedom is taken from us we are here for the most horrendous resistance. Everyone should be ready for this."

Warning issued

The group warned that the move would cause outrage among many Kurdish immigrants living in Europe.

An EU diplomat said that they still recognised the PKK and that the name Kadek would not be on the list.

The EU's list already includes the names of dozens of groups and individuals linked to the Taleban and the al-Qaeda movement.

It also lists groups from Northern Ireland, Spain's Basque country and Greece.

It is estimated that more than 30,000 people have died in fighting between Turkish forces and the PKK.

See also:

16 Apr 02 | Europe
Kurd rebels change their name
05 Jul 01 | Europe
Kurds' desperate return home
02 Feb 01 | Europe
Turkey: Angry man of Europe
26 Jan 01 | Europe
Ocalan warns of fresh attacks
09 Feb 00 | Europe
PKK ends war with Turkey
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