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Kurdish PKK leader apologizes 'to German people' for 1990s protests

The banned Kurdistan Workers' Party or the PKK has apologized for radical protests organized in Germany in the 1990s. The union's leader said the Kurds wanted a peaceful solution with Turkey.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK apologized to Berlin for violent protests that its members organized in the 1990s in Germany.

"I want to apologize to the German people. This will not happen again," the PKK's operative leader Cemil Bayik said in an interview with public channels WDR and NDR, which said they met the leader in a secret place in the Kandil hills in Iraq, where PKK militias are fighting the "Islamic State" (IS).

Bayik said his organization was not interested in fighting for independence against Turkey anymore and would rather work towards a political solution. "We do not want to fight Turkey anymore. We're saying, enough of fighting," Bayik emphasized, adding that fighting from both sides had not served anybody's cause.

Germany and the European Union have categorized the PKK as a terror organization. Support to the party is punishable by law, but the PKK's readiness to

fight IS

has forced EU politicians to rethink their strategy.

PKK-Anhänger besetzen SPD-Parteizentrale in Hamburg 1999

PKK supporters seized the Social Democrat Party's headquarters in Hamburg in 1999

"These statements set a new tone and they offer a chance for a reevaluation, if the PKK is ready to give up weapons for a long period of time," Rolf Mützenich, deputy head of the Social Democrats told WDR and NDR.

The PKK held violent rallies in the country in the 1990s where members set themselves on fire and blocked highways to attract attention to their cause. Earlier this year,

Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK's chief imprisoned by Turkey, called for his supporters to forge a peace deal with Ankara.

Öcalan appealed to his people to lay down their arms under certain conditions. The 30-year-old struggle for an independent Kurdistan has cost more than 40,000 lives until now.

mg/rc (dpa, AFP)

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