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Sunday, February 21, 1999 Published at 19:29 GMT

World: Europe

Turkish troops leave Iraq

PKK members protest in northern Iraq

Turkey has ended its operations against Kurdish rebels in Iraq.

The Ocalan File
The latest incursion into Iraq began six days ago, after Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan was captured in Kenya.

Mr Ocalan's Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) is fighting for an independent homeland in south-eastern Turkey, which borders on Iraq.

[ image: Mr Ecevit has offered job training to rebels who co-operate]
Mr Ecevit has offered job training to rebels who co-operate
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said the operation "has ended for the time being."

Military officials said that a substantial amount of equipment had been recovered.

Mr Ecevit said such operations were occasionally necessary because "the vacuum of authority in northern Iraq is very conducive for terrorist hideouts".

Education offer

BBC Correspondent Chris Morris: 'An attempt to get young men down from the mountains'
Mr Ecevit has reiterated his offer of clemency to Kurdish fighters who disarm and come out of hiding.

He has now offered job training to Kurds who co-operate with the authorities.

Observers say the clemency offer may tempt some junior PKK members.

But the PKK leadership has urged Kurds to attack Turkish state institutions until Mr Ocalan is released to appear before an international court.

Protests continue

BBC Correspondent Chris Morris: Kurdish question has become a European one
In Istanbul, five policemen were wounded on Saturday night when gunmen opened fire from a hilltop in a district where many Kurds have taken refuge from the war.

Hundreds of riot police have been deployed in a volatile and angry neighbourhood.

In Diyarbakar, the main city in south-eastern Turkey, the PKK has called for shops and offices to close for three days.

Protests also continue in France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Turkey says its operations against the PKK are a battle against terrorism, and foreign interference will not be tolerated as it prepares to put Mr Ocalan on trial.

Ocalan 'safe'

Mr Ocalan was seized by Turkish agents on Tuesday after a fortnight staying in the Greek embassy in Nairobi.

He is being held on the high security prison island, Imrali, south of Istanbul.

Mr Ecevit has given a personal assurance that Mr Ocalan will be safe in Turkish custody.

However, human rights groups accuse Turkey of already violating the law by refusing Mr Ocalan access to a lawyer of his choosing.

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