Cemil Bayik, one of the five founders of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), standing in front of a picture of the spiritual leader, Abdullah Ocalan, during an interview, in the Qandil Mountains, Iraq. EPA
Cemil Bayik, one of the five founders of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), standing in front of a picture of the spiritual leader, Abdullah Ocalan, during an interview, in the Qandil Mountains, Iraq

PKK leader Bayik says Turkey and Kurds in ‘civil war’



A Kurdish rebel leader said on Sunday that Turkey has slipped into a civil war with the Kurds, as he urged the European Union and the United States to step up as peace brokers to end the conflict.

“Military tanks, artillery and helicopters are being deployed in the south of Turkey against the Kurdish civilian population. The situation is the worst in decades,” Cemil Bayik, one of the leaders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

“The Turkish government say: this war will last until all Kurdish fighters surrender or are killed. Therefore I say that yes, we Kurds are once again in a civil war with Turkey,” said Mr Bayik, speaking at his group’s stronghold of northern Iraq’s Qandil mountains.

Mr Bayik along with Murat Karayilan is considered the PKK’s top commander on the ground in the absence of its jailed chief Abdullah Ocalan.

South-east Turkey has been rocked by a new wave of unrest that has left several hundred people dead since a two-year-old truce between Ankara and the PKK fell apart in July.

The PKK tore up the unilateral ceasefire it had declared in 2013 after Turkey began waging a relentless campaign against the group in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq.

“If the military act against the Kurdish civilian population, then we will defend the Kurds. That is our right and our responsibility,” said Mr Bayik.

At the same time, the PKK leader said he still believes in a political solution out of the crisis.

“We don’t want to fight anymore. We want political solutions. For that we need a peace broker, a third party,” he said.

“Therefore we are asking the United States or Germany as part of the EU, to take on this task.”

Both the US and the EU have put the PKK on their list of terror organisations.

But Mr Bayik said it was time to review that listing, as he underlined the role that his group has played in the fight against ISIL militants.

“Since we began battling IS on several fronts and freed many people, the people in Europe have begun to understand the real nature of the PKK,” he said.

“The time has come to finally remove PKK from the terror list.”

* Agence France-Presse

Day 1, Abu Dhabi Test: At a glance

Moment of the day Dimuth Karunaratne had batted with plenty of pluck, and no little skill, in getting to within seven runs of a first-day century. Then, while he ran what he thought was a comfortable single to mid-on, his batting partner Dinesh Chandimal opted to stay at home. The opener was run out by the length of the pitch.

Stat of the day - 1 One six was hit on Day 1. The boundary was only breached 18 times in total over the course of the 90 overs. When it did arrive, the lone six was a thing of beauty, as Niroshan Dickwella effortlessly clipped Mohammed Amir over the square-leg boundary.

The verdict Three wickets down at lunch, on a featherbed wicket having won the toss, and Sri Lanka’s fragile confidence must have been waning. Then Karunaratne and Chandimal's alliance of precisely 100 gave them a foothold in the match. Dickwella’s free-spirited strokeplay meant the Sri Lankans were handily placed at 227 for four at the close.

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1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

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