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Kurdish rebels 'to resume Turkey withdrawal in September'

Iraqi Kurdish supporters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rally in Arbil on April 12, 2014Kurdish rebels will begin a stalled withdrawal from Turkey into their safe haven in northern Iraq after parliament passes reforms aimed at ending a decades-long insurgency, local media reported on Saturday. In an apparent bid to secure votes from the Kurdish community ahead of presidential polls in August, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government submitted a bill to parliament last week that would remove a number of barriers to a final agreement. The six-article package of reforms would grant immunity to key actors involved in the peace talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which was hailed as a “historic development” by the group’s imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan. The PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and its Western allies, stalled its withdrawal from Turkey last year, accusing the government of its failure to deliver on promised reforms including constitutional recognition for up to 15 million Kurds.

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