Ocalan Calls on Kurdish PKK in Turkey to Lay Down Arms

Ocalan Calls on Kurdish PKK in Turkey to Lay Down Arms
Sat Feb 28, 2015 22:53:53

The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan, has urged rebels in Turkey to hold a congress on disarmament. The move is aimed to end 30 years of conflict between Kurds and the Turkish state.

The statement from Ocalan was read out by Sirri Sureyya Onder, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) on Saturday, in a press conference held jointly with Turkish authorities.

"I call on the PKK to hold an extraordinary congress in the spring months to take a strategic and historic decision to abandon the armed struggle..." Onder said quoting Ocalan (pictured above) and adding "this statement is a historic declaration of the intention to replace the armed struggle with democratic politics."

The fighting between the PKK and Turkish government has resulted in the killings of more than 40,000 people since 1984.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and its Western allies including the United States.

A ceasefire between the PKK and Turkey was declared in 2013 and negotiations have been ongoing since then, but violence has continued to erupt sporadically since then.

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