Tuesday, October 20, 2009

DW: Kurdish fighters show support for Turkish plans to expand Kurdish rights

car and people on street

A group of 34 Kurds has crossed from bases in Iraq to Turkey in what the Kurdish rebel group PKK has called a "peace caravan." They hope their surrender will help resolve a decades-old conflict.

The group of men and women, including eight PKK fighters and 26 Kurdish refugees, smiled as they entered Turkish territory on Monday, crossing over from the Iraqi Kurdish region, where most of the estimated 10,000 rebels are based. They were immediately detained by Turkish security forces.

The symbolic move came in response to a government initiative to end a conflict that has claimed more than 40,000 lives, displaced thousands and led to allegations of gross human rights violations.

The surrender was announced over the weekend by a PKK official who stressed that it was a gesture to the Turkish government in response to its democratization initiative. The initiative aims to bring to an end to the 26-year conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK.