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PKK sets date for withdrawal from Turkey

PKK sets date for withdrawal from Turkey

Ankara: The Kurdish rebel group the PKK has announced it will withdraw its thousands of fighters from Turkey starting on May 8.

The rebels from the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), who have been fighting the Turkish government for the last three decades, will move to northern Iraq after leaving Turkish territory.

During the announcement, the armed group warned Turkey's powerful military against "provocations" which would result in the end of the pledged withdrawal.

According to Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, the withdrawal would take a phased approach.

The announcement comes after the PKK's jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan ordered on March 21 a historic ceasefire following clandestine negotiations with the Turkish secret service aimed at disarming the rebel group.

The PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, started an armed rebellion in the Kurdish-majority southeast in 1984.

The group had originally demanded full independence for a Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey, but has moderated its goals to broader political and cultural autonomy.

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