Turkish press on historic Kurdish rebel pull-out

PKK rebels in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq The PKK's headquarters is in the Qandil mountains, northern Iraq

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Newspaper commentators in Turkey have expressed both wariness and guarded optimism towards Kurdish rebels beginning their withdrawal from the south-east of the country.

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised retreating fighters would not be touched, but urged them to lay down their weapons.

Some press commentators hail the fact that the withdrawal is actually beginning and see it as a page being turned in Turkey's history.

Others, however, wonder whether the pull-out will go ahead smoothly and what impact it will have internally and externally.

Headline in centre-right daily Star

Thirty-year-old bloody chapter being closed

Headline in tabloid Sozcu

They have martyred, vandalised and caused bloodshed in Turkey… and they are leaving with their weapons

Mustafa Unal in moderate, pro-Islamic Zaman

This is a critical day for the solution process

Abdulkadir Selvi in liberal, pro-Islamic Yeni Safak

This is the first step in bidding farewell to arms... PM Erdogan said that giving a date [for withdrawal] was wrong. This is a declaration of unease but it is not a stance against the process. In the end, the armed elements are withdrawing. Therefore, the solution process is becoming concrete.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Erdogan says the army won't attack
Rauf Tamer in tabloid Posta

This is said to be a solution process. But it is Ankara first which refuses a peace discourse. What harsh statements are being made in parliament? When this is reflected to those in [the Turkish heartland of] Anatolia, the so-called wise men trying to persuade the public about the peace process are being mocked… this atmosphere is contagious.

Fuat Keyman in centrist Milliyet

The solution process is primarily and basically a "humanitarian process". But it is also a process that strengthens Turkey both internally and externally… Will the world accept a Turkey that is getting stronger? This is actually one of the issues we have to discuss.

Rusen Cakir in centrist Vatan

Will elements amongst the PKK and the security forces sabotage the withdrawal either consciously or unconsciously? … They [both sides] are taking whatever steps they can to avoid this… but nobody wants to talk about what could happen if it does.

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