The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has given a September 1st deadline to the Turkish government, to advance the Kurdish-Turk peace process, the AFP has reported. "A step must be taken. September 1 is the deadline", Cemil Bayik, the PKK's new leader, was quoted as saying by pro-Kurdish Firat news agency. "If no step is taken before 1 September, it will be understood that the aim is not a solution," he added. Without providing further detail, Mr Bayik said Kurds would then have to defend themselves.
The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and Western nations, had announced a ceasefire with the Turkish government back in March of this year. The truce involved the PKK agreeing to remove its approximately 2000 fighters from Turkey back to northern Iraq, in return for greater constitutional rights for Turkey's 15 million Kurds. PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, currently in Turkish jail, had been leading the negotiations from the Kurdish side. Since March however, the PKK has been angered at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's plans to install new military barracks in mainly-Kurdish areas of the country. Relations have also deteriorated since the death of a young Kurdish man last month in an government-protest. Since 1984, 45 thousand people have perished in the Kurdish conflict.