Kurdish militants have started to leave Turkey, as part of a peace process aimed at bringing an end to a three-decade insurgency that has left 40-thousand people dead.
In the village of Akkoy in Simak province, the pullout of fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, cannot come soon enough.
“We were suffering a lot before this process but now things are better. We want to have peace all of the time. We don’t want to see families suffering from now on. We prefer to live in peace than to have clashes,” said village guard Yunus Polat.
The first fighters are expected to arrive in northern Iraq within a week.
In Istanbul, some are sceptical about the withdrawal.
“I don’t believe in this withdrawal. I don’t believe that they are going to lay down their weapons and leave our borders. I think they are just playing with us,” said city resident Bulent Ozge.
The withdrawal follows months of negotiations between Turkish intelligence officers and the PKK’s jailed leader. The pullout process is expected to take several months to complete.