PKK Leader Ocalan Calls for His Fighters to Lay down Arms

Local Editor
 
Jailed Kurdish rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan called Thursday for his fighters to lay down their arms and withdraw from Turkey.
Ocalan
“We are at a stage where guns should be silenced,” Ocalan said in a letter written from his isolated island prison cell and read out by a pro-Kurdish lawmaker to vast crowds in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir.

The truce call was welcomed by Ankara, which nevertheless said it wanted to see action as well as words.

Ocalan, the founding leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), said it was time for “politics to prevail, not arms”.

The move caps months of clandestine peace talks between Turkey’s spy agency and the state’s former nemesis Ocalan, whose movement is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ocalan appear to have staked their political futures on the renewed push to end the 29-year armed campaign for self-rule that has killed some 45,000 people, mostly Kurds.

“A door is opened from armed struggle to democratic struggle,” said the 64-year-old Ocalan, known as “Apo” or uncle to Kurds who has been serving a life sentence for treason on Imrali island off Istanbul since 1999. “It is not the end of the struggle, it is the beginning of a new one,” he added. “It is time for unity.”

Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler gave a cautious welcome to Ocalan’s announcement.
Erdogan has said he was putting his faith in the peace process “even if it costs me my political career” in the face of charges by the nationalist opposition that he was guilty of “treason.”

Source: Websites
21-03-2013 – 17:39 Last updated 21-03-2013 – 17:39

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