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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid