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Iran Press TV

Kurdistan Workers’ Party has new leaders

Iran Press TV

Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:42AM GMT

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has named Cemil Bayik and Bese Hozat as its new leaders, reports say.

The announcement was made on Wednesday, a day after a 162-delegate congress held on Iraq’s Qandil Mountain.

According to local media, Bayik, a founder and close ally of imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan, was named as the group’s new leader.

Ocalan, who was captured by Turkish security forces in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in 1999, is serving a life sentence at Imrali Island prison on charges of leading the PKK in its armed campaign against Ankara.

Bayik, a former member of Kurdish Communities Union Executive Council is known for his anti-Ankara rhetoric.

Reports say that Hozat, a female PKK figure who led its women’s wing, was also elected joint leader.

Bayik will replace Murat Karayilan, who commanded the PKK from a base in Iraq. Karayilan was named the new leader of the group’s military wing.

In May, the PKK announced that its militants were withdrawing from Turkey to settle in bases in northern Iraq, as part of a peace deal between Ankara and the group.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead.

Several thousand PKK members are believed to be living in Turkey, while the group’s armed wing is based in northern Iraq.


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