Turkey denies use of chemical weapons against PKK

Ismet Yilmaz, Turkey's defense minister, said on Friday that the Turkish Armed Forces never used chemical weapons in their operations against Kurdistan Workers' Party militants.

Yilmaz said that the Turkish Armed Forces do not have chemical weapons and do not intend to purchase them. In the past 10 months, Turkey's security forces killed 496 members of the PKK, wounded 21, arrested 44 and took 155 militants prisoner, Anadolu reports.

The conflict between Turkey and the PKK is over the creation of an independent Kurdish state. The 25-year conflict has claimed more than 40,000 lives.

The United Nations and the European Union recognize the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Turkey recently launched peace talks with the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan. Ocalan is currently serving a life sentence in prison on Imrali Island, where he has been imprisoned since 1999, Al Jazeera reports.

Intelligence officials and Ocalan agreed on a four-stage plan to end the conflict, including a ceasefire, the approval of a judicial reform package to release imprisoned Kurdish activists and politicians, the withdrawal of PKK members beyond the borders of Turkey, democratization talks and disarmament.

Thousands of Turkish politicians, journalists and activists are in Turkish prisons in relation to cases against the Union of Communities in Kurdistan, the alleged umbrella organization of the PKK, and other regional Kurdish groups, Al Jazeera reports.