Spanish police arrest wanted PKK leader

28th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Spanish police have detained a suspected leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) the Anatolia news agency reported Friday, quoting Foreign Minister Ali Babacan.

ANKARA - Remzi Kartal, who has had an international warrant out against him since 2006, was taken into custody in Madrid on Tuesday and was waiting to be brought before a judge, Babacan said.

"The request for his extradition can be lodged only after he appears before a court. We are closely following the case," he told reporters here.

Kartal was one of the first Kurdish lawmakers to be elected to the Turkish parliament in 1991 as a member of the Democratic Party.

The party was banned three years later for links with the PKK but he subsequently escaped abroad.

Kartal is believed to be one of the deputy chairmen of KONGRA-GEL, which describes itself as the political wing of the PKK.

The PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 for self-rule in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast. The ensuing conflict has claimed 44,000 lives.

Turkey has often complained that its Western allies tolerate the presence of PKK rebels on their soils and hamper Ankara's fight against the rebels by refusing to extradite suspects.



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