ISTANBUL, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that the Kurdish peace process will start after the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) militants leave Turkey.
"This process will truly begin at the moment the terrorists in Turkey cross the border for another country," Erdogan told Turkish media when he was on the airplane back to Turkey from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He also admitted that there were political risks for a solution to the Kurdish issue.
Erdogan said earlier that the Turkish government might consider a possible plan for PKK members to take shelters in other countries on condition that they lay down the arms, indicating that Turkey would not take legal actions against the militants.
Erdogan's remarks came after three members of pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) visited jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan on Imrali island two days ago.
After a peace negotiation, Ocalan is expected to call for a cease-fire on March 21 as the first step of a peace process.
Ocalan also proposed a road map to establish peace, which includes withdrawing PKK's 4,000 Turkey-based militants out of Turkey in May and June if the Turkish government guarantees that no operations will be launched against the PKK members.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms in 1984 in an attempt to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Since then, over 35,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving the group.
Kurds in Turkey, representing almost 20 percent of the population, live in all provinces, but primarily concentrate in the east and southeast of the country.