Eighteen months after a ceasefire between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Turkey’s security forces took effect, clouds of trouble are gathering in the country’s south-east.
The peaceful withdrawal from Turkey of combatants from the Kurdistan's Workers Party (PKK) began last Wednesday but is already at risk of being compromised following a twin car bomb explosion on Saturday afternoon. The terrorist attack in Rayhanli in the Syrian border province of Hatay caused 46 civilian deaths and at least 155 injuries.
It was only seven in the morning when Mohamed Abdi spread out a rug a few metres away from an artillery crater, up in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq. This Iraqi Kurd from Suleimaniyah, 260 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, was ready to celebrate the Newroz – the Kurdish and Persian New Year – along with his family.
Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed Kurdish rebel leader, has issued a long-awaited ceasefire declaration that would be a major step towards ending a 30-year conflict that has cost around 40,000 lives in Turkey.
Kurdish rebels in Turkey have released eight hostages after their jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan called for a prisoner exchange.