TITLE=TURKEY / KURDS (L ONLY)
INTRO: Turkey's top military official says at least
700-rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party,
the P-K-K, have withdrawn from Turkish territory in
recent months. But as Amberin Zaman reports from
Ankara, the commander in chief of Turkey's armed
forces, Huseyin Kivrikoglu, says the rebels should not
withdraw, but should surrender to Turkish authorities.
TEXT: General Kivrikoglu said as many as 700
Kurdistan Workers' Party fighters have left Turkish
soil in recent months for bases in Iran and Kurdish-
controlled northern Iraq.
He said it would be, in his words -- more meaningful
for them to surrender with their weapons, rather than
to withdraw. He said those who withdraw could always
General Kivrikoglu made the comments in Diyarbakir the
largest city in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast
region. The Turkish army has been coordinating its
15-year battle against the P-K-K from the city.
Turkish military officials say no more than 15-hundred
rebels remain in Turkey, down from a peak number of
10-thousand in the early 1990's.
The P-K-K fighters are apparently withdrawing in
response to a call in September from their captured
leader, Abdullah Ocalan, to halt their attacks and
The call is in line with Ocalan's efforts to prove to
the Turkish government he is sincere about negotiating
a peaceful end to the Kurdish rebellion he launched
15-years ago -- initially for Kurdish independence.
In recent years Ocalan scaled back his goals to
political and cultural autonomy. Since his capture by
Turkish special forces in Kenya in February, Ocalan
has been seeking to project himself as a man of peace,
saying he all he wants is to help firm up Turkey's
But Turkish officials say his sole aim is to avoid
execution. They say they will never negotiate with a
man they describe as -- a baby killer and terrorist.
Ocalan was sentenced to death for treason by a Turkish
court last June. An appeals court is reviewing the
verdict and will announce its ruling November 25th.
02-Nov-1999 11:50 AM EDT (02-Nov-1999 1650 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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