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Last Updated: Monday, 2 October 2006, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Turkish army rejects rebel truce
Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit
The Turkish military sees itself as a guardian of secular values
Turkey's top general has rejected a unilateral ceasefire by armed Kurdish rebels, vowing to fight on "until not a single armed terrorist is left".

General Yasar Buyukanit, the new chief of military staff, said the PKK must "lay down arms unconditionally and give themselves up".

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) called the truce last week.

The PKK's conflict with Turkey has claimed more than 30,000 lives since it began in 1984.

A spate of bomb attacks has hit Turkey over the past month, some of them blamed on a group called the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (Tak), regarded as an offshoot of the PKK.

Announcing the ceasefire last week, senior PKK leader Murat Karayilan said he hoped the decision would lead to renewed dialogue with the Turkish authorities.

But earlier ceasefires have been ignored by the Turkish government and have later lapsed.

Secular guardian

Gen Buyukanit also warned of a rising reactionary threat to his country's secular values.

The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Istanbul says the comment was directed at the current government, which has its roots in political Islam.

It follows similar comments on Sunday from the President of Turkey, Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

The government has rejected the complaints.

Turkey's military sees itself as the guardian of the secular state, and has forced four governments from office in five decades, our correspondent says.

Analysts in Turkey say the powerful military is making its position abundantly clear ahead of presidential elections next May, which it fears may be won by the current Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


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