Turkish general accuses EU of fostering rebels

ANKARA – Turkey’s top general yesterday accused the European Union of supporting and encouraging terrorism by not including a Kurdish rebel group on a list of banned terrorist organizations. The EU last year widened its list of terrorist organizations to include the Kurdish rebel group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has waged a 15-year war for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast. The fighting has killed some 37,000 people, mostly Kurds. The group has since changed its name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress, or KADEK, in an attempt to break away from its violent past. The group has not, however, disbanded its armed wing and Turkey wants it placed on the EU’s terrorist list. KADEK is included on the USA’s list of some 30 terrorist organizations. It is also banned in EU member Germany. «We thought that there would be… a common stance against terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks. However, despite all decisions taken to fight against terrorism, I am sad to say that we have not seen realistic support with regard to KADEK’s terrorism,» Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, the chief of military staff, told a conference here. He said the group’s exclusion from the list amounted «to support to all of KADEK’s terrorist acts and encourages the terrorist organization.» The PKK declared a unilateral ceasefire in 1999 after the capture of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan. The Turkish military has rejected it, saying all rebels must surrender. Sporadic fighting continues. The rebels have for their part threatened to resume full-scale fighting unless Turkey peacefully solves the Kurdish problem with measures such as amnesty for rebels.

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