After nearly 30 years of fighting and more than 40,000 people killed – Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters begin their withrawal from Turkey to northern Iraq.
It is part of the group’s recent peace agreement with the Turkish government, so one of the world’s longest conflicts may finally be coming to an end.
It has taken months of secret negotiations but PKK fighters have begun their withdrawal from Turkey.
They are pulling out from the Kurdish heartland in southeastern Turkey and making their way across the border to northern Iraq.
This withdrawal is the culmination of a long struggle for PKK.
The group was founded in 1978 with the aim of creating an independent state in southeastern Turkey – six years later it launched an armed struggle.
The PKK suffered its biggest blow when its leader Abdullah Ocalan was captured and jailed for treason in 1999.
Ocalan was considered public enemy number one in Turkey for years.
But in late 2012, the Turkish government opened secret peace talks with him, that resulted in the announcement of a ceasefire in March.
So, how does PKK’s withdrawal from Turkey affect domestic and regional stability?
Inside Story, with presenter Ghida Fakhry, discusses with guests: Akif Wan, the UK representative of the Kurdistan National Congress; Barcin Yinac, editor of Hurriyet Daily News; and Fadi Hakura, an associate fellow at Chatham House.
SOME KURDS’ REACTION TO THE WITHDRAWAL
“We are so happy because of these developments. We’ve witnessed many bad things since 1993. Our children were arrested, some of them killed by Turkish soldiers and Kurdish rebels. We don’t want to see the same suffering from now on,” said one Kurd
“Our village was destroyed in 1993 because of these clashes. We are really hopeful about this peace process. That’s enough! We don’t want anyone to die from now on,” explained another Kurd. “Turks and Kurds are all brothers and are not different from each other. We returned to our village because we want to be here from now on.”