Kurdish Workers Party warns against travel to Turkey

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

ANKARA The Kurdish Workers Party has decided to renew its insurgency campaign against Turkey.

The PKK said it would renew the campaign on Tuesday after what the group termed a five-year unilateral ceasefire. In a statement, the PKK warned tourists and foreign investors to avoid Turkey.

"Our commitment to the ceasefire will cease to exist from June 1," the PKK said in a statement attributed to the Kongra-Gel. "Tourists should not choose Turkey. We appeal to people wanting to invest in Turkey not to come here and choose to invest in a conflict zone. Otherwise we will not be responsible for the damage."

Kongra-Gel has been termed as the latest successor of the PKK. The PKK has undergone several name changes since 1999 to avoid European Union and other international sanctions, Middle East Newsline reported. The PKK has been deemed a terrorist organization by the EU and United States.

Over the last year, the PKK has threatened several times to renew the insurgency, which lasted from 1983 and 1999. In 2004, PKK insurgents increased attacks against Turkish military targets in southeastern Turkey near the Iraqi border. In April and May, about 30 Kurdish insurgents and Turkish security officers were killed in clashes.

In its statement, Kongra-Gel said Turkey has been trying to annihilate the Kurdish group since February. The statement said the Kurdish group would limit its attacks to Turkish security forces.

"We will engage in various types of activities targeting Turkish forces," the PKK-based statement said.

Turkish security sources said the PKK statement appeared connected to the NATO summit, scheduled for Istanbul on June 28. Turkey, with U.S. help, plans to deploy thousands of soldiers and security officers and close much of the city for the two-day conference.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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