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'PKK ready to swap arms for autonomy'
Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:54AM
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A file photo of the leader of Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK, Murat Karayilan
Turkey's Kurdish militants have demanded a system similar to Spain's Catalonia, promising to lay down arms if considerable autonomy is granted.

The Spanish model "is the one we are looking for," the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Murat Karayilan, said in a Sunday interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, AFP reported.

He further pointed out that if his demand is met, the PKK would hand over its weapons to the United Nations.

"If we obtain Catalonia (style) autonomy, we would lay down our weapons and hand them over to the United Nations," Karayilan went on to say.

The PKK leader was referring to the independent police and parliament of the Spanish autonomous community.

The PKK signed a ceasefire agreement in mid-August which is due to expire on September 20. Kurdish armed conflict with the Turkish government has claimed around 45,000 lives so far.

The news comes at a time when Turkish voters have firmly supported constitutional amendments proposed by the country's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The package of 26 reforms will curb the military's power and could boost the country's bid to join the European Union.

It includes measures to increase the rights of individuals and workers and to curb the power of the military, which has staged several coups in recent decades.

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