Kurdish militants in Iraq declare cease-fire with Turkey

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Map highlighting the Kurdish areas in Iraq.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq has declared a "unilateral" cease fire with Turkey, but also said that the party will defend itself with force if necessary.

"We are renewing our declaration to halt attacks against the Turkish army. We want peace and we are ready for negotiations. But if Turkey decides to attack our bases inside Turkey or inside Iraqi Kurdistan, then this unilateral cease-fire will be meaningless. If we are attacked, we will fight back and we have the ability to confront any Turkish aggression," said PKK Foreign Affairs official, Abdul Rahman Chaderchi.

Turkey has not released a statement on the PKK's declaration, but the Turkish government has rejected several prior cease-fire declarations by the PKK saying that the government does not negotiate with "terrorists."

The United States says that the cease-fire should include an end to all of the PKK's militant activities.

"The PKK is a terrorist organization. We take quite seriously the concerns of the Turkish government. They've lost lives ... and it's an issue that needs to be dealt with," said White House spokesman, Sean McCormack in a statement to the press.

Turkey began to mass their army on the Turkey-Iraq border in the beginning of June, and reports began to circulate in the media that Turkey was preparing for an invasion of Iraq to take out the PKK.