DAILY TIMES OF PAKISTAN
QANDIL: Kurdish rebels say they have enough weapons to defend themselves against Turkish raids on their bases in northern Iraq but remain open to a political settlement with Turkey that recognises Kurdish national identity.
Turkey is pressing Iraq and its American ally to crack down on rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, who launch attacks on Turkey from bases in northern Iraq. The group has been waging a bloody war in southeast Turkey since 1984 in a conflict that has claimed 37,000 lives. During an interview last week with a PKK mountain stronghold, a spokesman for the PKK insisted that the rebels have the weapons to resist any Turkish incursion. â€œOur fighters are training very hard since we heard the Turkish threats,â€ Rustam Jawdat said. â€œWe have enough fighters to defend ourselves.â€
He added that the PKK was open to a deal -but on its terms.
â€œWe want to solve the problem with Turkey peacefully. We have simple weapons. If we have guarantees to recognize Kurdish national identity, we would not need to carry weapons,â€ he said. The interview occurred in a PKK base in the rugged mountains of northern Iraq. Access to the camp was on foot, and the fighters would not allow photographs of the area for security.