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March 2, 2021

PKK frees Turkish hostages in peace bid

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) freed the eight soldiers and civil servants on Wednesday as part of a peace process with the Turkish government that it hopes will lead to a ceasefire by August, Al Jazeera reported Wednesday. The hostages were freed in Iraq and they were back in Turkey on Wednesday afternoon. According to reports, Ocalan began secret talks with Turkey to end the 29-year conflict in October. Al Jazeera’s Omar Al Saleh, reporting from Antakya in Turkey, said the deal to release of the hostages was considered a gesture of goodwill in a proposal made by Ocalan. “Now this takes us to the more important step we could see by next week, this is according to Ocalan, we could see calling for the PKK to announce a ceasefire,” Al Saleh said. The hostages met their families in Zakho, northern Iraq, and then entered Turkey from the border at Habur. Al Saleh said Ocalan’s plan was for a ceasefire to begin in the next few months, up to the middle of August. “Then the PKK will call on its fighters to leave the Turkish territory and withdraw and then lay down their weapons,” Al Saleh said. Turkey has yet to announce what it has offered in return, but there has been speculation that it will make some changes to the Turkish constitution. These include recognition of the existence of the ethnic Kurds, which is one of the main demands by Kurds in Turkey.

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