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Kurdish militants free abducted Turkish soldiers

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Four Turkish soldiers seized by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants were freed on Monday after Kurdish politicians intervened, security sources said, ending a brief standoff that could have damaged a fragile peace process. The abductions reflected an increase in tensions in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeastern provinces after two protesters were killed on Friday in clashes with police in Yuksekova, a town near the Iraqi border.

Kurdish rebels halt withdrawal from Turkey

Turkey's Kurdish rebels have halted withdrawing their fighters from Turkish territory, as agreed under a peace plan, accusing Ankara of not abiding by the deal's terms, a pro-Kurdish news agency reported on Monday. Under a roadmap to end the three-decade old insurgency, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) began in May withdrawing its fighters from Turkey to safe havens in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region. No deadline was set for the withdrawal, but a ceasefire agreement reached in March said that the peace process cannot proceed further until it is completed.

AWP vows 500 houses for poor

Awami Workers Party (AWP) Central Secretary General Farooq Tariq announced election manifesto of the party here the other day. The AWP leader who is also contesting elections from PP-86, promised to construct at least 5,00 houses for homeless people in the area if won the MPA seat.He said that he would also take steps to reduce power outages, raise salaries of women and end irrigation water supply shortage in villages located on tail end of canals in his constituency.

UPDATE 2-PKK leader to call Kurdish new year ceasefire - reports

* Ocalan signalled Turkish captives could be released by PKK * Peace plan envisages withdrawal of militants from Turkey * More than 40,000 people killed in conflict (Adds PKK spokesman) By Daren Butler ISTANBUL, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Jailed Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan will call a ceasefire at the Kurdish New Year next month, moving forward a peace process with Turkey aimed at ending his group's 28-year-old insurgency, media reports said on Monday.

Kurdish militant leader to call ceasefire in 1 month - media

* Ocalan signalled Turkish captives could be released by PKK * Peace plan envisages withdrawal of militants from Turkey * More than 40,000 people killed in conflict ISTANBUL, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Jailed Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan will call a ceasefire at the Kurdish New Year next month, moving forward a peace process with Turkey aimed at ending his group's 28-year-old insurgency, media reports said on Monday.

Kurdish militant leader signals Turkish prisoners may be freed

* Statement falls short of a new ceasefire declaration * Turkish PM reiterates that PKK must leave Turkey * Conflict has hit the Turkish economy, killed thousands By Ayla Jean Yackley ISTANBUL, Feb 23 (Reuters) - The jailed leader of Turkey's Kurdish rebellion on Saturday signalled that his followers could release captives and further a fledgling peace process that may be the best hope in years of ending the decades-long conflict.

UPDATE 2-Kurdish militants set for Turkey ceasefire in Feb-paper

* Some 100 PKK fighters to leave Turkey to boost confidence * Talks with rebel group being held in northern Iraq * PM Erdogan under pressure to act swiftly as elections loom * More than 40,000 people killed in conflict since 1984 (Adds PKK comments) By Daren Butler

Kurdish militant chief denies links to suspect in Paris murders

* Murder suspect described himself as PKK member * PKK commander says government conducting "psychological war" * Parliament to debate law on using Kurdish in court By Daren Butler ISTANBUL, Jan 23 (Reuters) - A Kurdish militant commander denied the suspect held over the killing of three activists in Paris was a member of his group, accusing the Turkish state of involvement in the murders in an interview with a rebel-linked news agency.

FACTBOX-Paris murders show complexity of PKK peace drive

Jan 10 (Reuters) - Here is a look at the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), as three Kurdish women, one of them a founding member of the militant group, were killed in Paris. * PKK ORIGINS - Abdullah Ocalan founded the Marxist-Leninist group in 1978. It took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an independent Kurdistan in the mainly Kurdish areas of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. It is now seeking greater Kurdish rights and limited autonomy in southeast Turkey.

UPDATE 1-Turkey, Ocalan map out steps to end Kurdish conflict

* Jailed militant agrees four-stage process to disarmament * Kurdish politicians, PKK give cautious welcome * Pro-Kurdish party seeks role in negotiations * 40,000 killed since conflict began in 1984 By Daren Butler
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