Turkish president calls on Kurdish rebels to lay down armsMarch 8th, 2008 - 4:45 am ICT by admin
Ankara, March 8 (Xinhua) Turkish President Abdullah Gul has called on the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels to lay down arms, underlining that Turkey will never tolerate people engaged in terrorism. Gul made the call Friday at a joint press conference with visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani following their official talks at the Presidential Palace in capital Ankara.
Responding to a question whether Turkey would consider non-military solutions to end the conflict with autonomy seeking PKK rebels, Gul said his country would never tolerate terrorism and those who carry out terror activities.
“First of all, the Turkish state will never tolerate those who illegally carry arms and engage in terrorism … Whoever has gun in his hand should lay his weapon down,” Gul said.
Terming the PKK as a trouble for both Turkey and Iraq, the Turkish president said the rebels who launch attacks on Turkey from Iraqi soil pose problems for both the neighbours.
Talabani arrived here earlier in the day for a two-day working visit upon an invitation by Gul with an aim to improving bilateral relations between the two countries.
His tour came just one week after Turkey ended an eight-day military incursion into northern Iraq against the PKK, which was labelled by Ankara and Washington as a terrorist group.
Talabani, who was accompanied by several high-ranking officials, will hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Saturday and is also expected to attend a meeting of the Turkish-Iraqi Business Council before returning to Iraq.
Talabani, a Kurd, has long said he was interested in visiting Ankara, but Turkey’s former president Ahmet Necdet Sezer had refused to invite him on the basis that Iraqi Kurds are supporting the PKK.