PKK rebels ready to swap five Turkish
prisoners with Turkey
The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds'
identity in its constitution and of their language
as a native language along with Turkish in the
country's Kurdish areas,
the party also demanded an end to
ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and
constitution against Kurds, ranting them full
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March 18, 2012
Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — A Turkish Kurdish rebel
group with bases in Iraqi Kurdistan's border area
with Turkey said on Saturday it would release five
Turkish nationals it kidnapped last year if Ankara
would agree to a prisoner exchange.
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) spokesman Bakhtiar
Doran said the five -- a town mayor, a policeman and
three Turkish soldiers -- were snatched last year,
but did not specify the date of their kidnap, or
provide their names.
"We have in our hands a mayor, a policeman and three
Turkish soldiers," a PKK statement attributed to
"The PKK is treating these prisoners according to
the Geneva Convention, and we will not release them
without official agreement with the Turkish
government on a prisoner exchange."
Doran told AFP by telephone that the group were
kidnapped last year, but declined to give further
The PKK said in September that it detained a number
of "military officials, a town mayor and 12
teachers", but did not give specifics. It was not
immediately clear if the group of five were among
those kidnapped in September.
The statement, which made reference to an October
deal in which Israel freed more than 1,000
Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of
Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit,www.ekurd.net
who was snatched by Gaza-based militants in June
2006, said: "If Turkey wants these prisoners
released, it must take serious steps.
"The Turkish government has not carried out any
efforts until now to release them."
Fighting between Turkish forces and PKK rebels has
escalated in recent months.
In October, Turkey launched a major air and land
offensive against the rebels in the southeast of the
country and in neighboring northern Iraq after 24 of
its troops were killed in a night-time ambush by
Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been
fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the
constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a
Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who
constitute the greatest minority in Turkey,
numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's
Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees,
lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the
way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within
Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader
Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against
the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
The PKK is considered ass 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
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