Kurdish rebel troops start withdrawing from the Turkish territory as part of a peace process to end a conflict between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whose militant activities have claimed more than 45,000 lives to date. The militants are to withdraw to northern Iraq, where most of PKK fighters are based. The move comes after the Turkish government reached an armistice deal with jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan in early January. In February, Ocalan was expected to call for the militants to declare ceasefire.
The PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, the United States and the European Union, is a guerrilla movement that has been fighting for the autonomy of Kurdistan and greater rights for Kurds in Turkey.