The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) announced yesterday hideouts, shelters and warehouses belonging to the PKK were raided in southeastern Turkey yesterday. The announcement comes days after the militant group's jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan called on his followers to lay down their arms to end the decades-old conflict perpetrated by the PKK.
A statement on the TSK's website said that five teams of troops were dispatched to a rural area in the southeastern Turkish province of Mardin's Mazıdağı district "to examine and destroy" the hideouts.
On the occasion of the Nevruz festival on Saturday, Öcalan called on the PKK militants to end the "unsustainable armed struggle," implying disarmament. The written message by Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence on an island prison in western Turkey, is seen as the PKK's response to the government's reconciliation process initiative to end the conflict started by the terrorist organization in the 1980s, which left tens of thousands of people dead in clashes with security forces and terror attacks.
The reconciliation process was marked with a series of unprecedented developments that promise a resolution to the violent conflict. "I think it is necessary and historic for the PKK to end the 40-year-long armed struggle against the Republic of Turkey and hold a congress to conform with the new era's spirit," Öcalan said in his message. The message came after the government and an opposition party linked to the PKK held talks on the process last month. The terrorist organization announced its withdrawal from Turkish territories in 2013, and several militants hiding out in mountainous areas in southeastern and eastern Turkey had crossed into northern Iraq to the Qandil Mountains where the terrorist organization is based.
No significant terror attacks were reported since the so-called withdrawal but the terrorist organization is believed to have a considerable influence in the predominantly Kurdish region.
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