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Last Updated: Friday, 29 September 2006, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Turkish PM rejects ceasefire call
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan. File photo
Mr Erdogan said the PKK must lay down its arms
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected a ceasefire call from jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Mr Erdogan said a truce was only possible between two states, describing Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as "a terrorist organisation".

He said the PKK "must lay down its arms" so there could be peace.

His comments follow Ocalan's statement on Thursday in which he urged the PKK to observe an unconditional ceasefire.

"A ceasefire is done between states. It is not something for the terrorist organisation," Mr Erdogan told Turkey's private Samanyolu TV channel.

The PKK should not use weapons unless it is attacked with the aim of annihilation
Abdullah Ocalan

Mr Erdogan's rejection comes as no surprise, the BBC Sarah Rainsford in Istanbul says.

She says Turkey has always insisted there can be no dialogue with the PKK - a group listed as terrorists in the US and the EU.

Instead, the Turkish government has said it will pursue the Kurdish militant group until it is eliminated or surrenders.

As violent attacks by the PKK have escalated in recent weeks, Turkey has been talking tougher than ever, even threatening military intervention in northern Iraq where the group has its bases, our correspondent says.

'Democratic dialogue'

In a statement from his prison cell, Ocalan said "the PKK should not use weapons unless it is attacked with the aim of annihilation".

Abdullah Ocalan. File photo
Ocalan is serving a life sentence

He said it was "very important to build a democratic union between Turks and Kurds. With this process, the way to democratic dialogue will be also opened".

Ocalan is serving a life sentence on the prison island of Imrali after being convicted for treason in 1999.

The PKK implemented a five-year unilateral ceasefire after Ocalan's arrest, but resumed armed activities in 2004.

In 1999, the PKK also dropped its demands for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey.

In recent years it has instead been calling for Ankara to open a political dialogue, increase cultural rights for Turkey's Kurds and release imprisoned PKK members, including Ocalan.

But Ankara has ignored all such calls.

More than 30,000 people have died since the PKK took up arms in 1984.


SEE ALSO
Profile: Abdullah Ocalan
13 May 05 |  Europe
Country profile: Turkey
26 Jul 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Bomb blasts in Turkey
28 Aug 06 |  Europe

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