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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid