News / Europe

    Jailed Kurdish Rebel Leader Expected to Make Ceasefire Call

    Selahattin Demirtas (front C), co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), lights a traditional Newroz fire during a rally to celebrate the spring festival of Newroz - with a picture of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan seen in theSelahattin Demirtas (front C), co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), lights a traditional Newroz fire during a rally to celebrate the spring festival of Newroz - with a picture of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan seen in the
    x
    Selahattin Demirtas (front C), co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), lights a traditional Newroz fire during a rally to celebrate the spring festival of Newroz - with a picture of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan seen in the
    Selahattin Demirtas (front C), co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), lights a traditional Newroz fire during a rally to celebrate the spring festival of Newroz - with a picture of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan seen in the
    Reuters
    Kurdish politicians were ferried to a Turkish prison island on Monday where Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan is expected to issue a ceasefire call in a conflict that has cost 40,000 lives and battered Turkey's economy over three decades.

    Ocalan, captured by Turkish special forces in Kenya 14 years ago, has been holding talks with the government since late last year. Truces have been agreed and failed before in the war, but this is the first time Ocalan and a Turkish prime minister have openly spoken of talks on a comprehensive settlement.

    Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said he expected the withdrawal of Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK] guerrillas to bases in northern Iraq to be completed by the end of 2013, Milliyet newspaper reported Monday.

    In exchange for the ultimate disarming of the militants, Turkey would strengthen the political rights of the country's Kurds who account for some 20 percent of its population of 76 million, according to Ocalan's plan.

    In an initial confidence-boosting step, the PKK last week released eight Turkish captives which it had been holding at its bases in northern Iraq for up to two years.

    On Monday, a delegation of the Peace and Democracy Party [BDP] made no comment before leaving to see PKK chief Ocalan on Imrali island in the Marmara Sea.

    The island has long associations with the more turbulent chapters in Turkey's history. After a military coup in 1960, prime minister Adnan Menderes and two other senior ministers were hanged there.

    The ceasefire call by Ocalan, whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after his trial on Imrali, was expected to be announced at celebrations now under way to mark the Kurdish new year festival of Newroz on March 21. Those rites have in the past been marred by clashes between protesters and Turkish security forces.

    Mountains of Iraq

    The PKK had originally fought for an independent state to be carved out of southeastern Turkey, but have more recently moderated their demands to greater autonomy and cultural rights for Kurds. In the course of the conflict investment in the area has slumped and poverty has increased, putting a strain - beyond the human losses - on the Turkish economy as a whole.

    Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said he seeks peace in the southeast, but will respond to any hostile actions by the PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, as well as Ankara.

    A BDP delegation previously met Ocalan in late February and since then the PKK leadership in northern Iraq and Europe have responded to his draft peace plan, which he was expected on Monday to finalize with a timetable.

    Rebel PKK commander Murat Karayilan said last week the PKK supported Ocalan's peace efforts, but communicated its misgivings about the process in a letter responding to him.

    The BDP is a legal party with 29 parliamentarians made up overwhelmingly of ethnic Kurds focused on Kurdish issues.

    The PKK says it keeps about half of its 7,000 fighters in Turkey and half in northern Iraq, where it maintains its main camps in remote, nearly impassable mountains. Turkish authorities estimate the number of rebels to be lower.

    Apart from hampering economic growth, the conflict has scarred Turkey's human rights record and has posed a major obstacle to membership in the European Union.

    Ocalan is serving a life sentence for treason. He still holds sway over the PKK despite long isolation on Imrali and is considered a hero by nationalist Kurds.

    Ocalan still pushes for safeguarding Kurdish rights, demanding a "truth commission" in parliament to examine Kurdish rights violations in Turkey.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ALİ from: TURKEY
    March 19, 2013 5:37 AM
    as everyone knows that usa supports terrorist organization by giving them gun,food,mines by ıts helicopters

    by: ali yılmaz from: TURKEY
    March 19, 2013 5:30 AM
    Terrorist:rebel
    Terrorist:fignter
    Firstly, I advice you to learn terms.If someone attacks america you name him terrorist ,but the other countries like Turkey rebel.HYPOCRİSY OF CHRİSTİANS.GOD DAMN YOU.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.