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February 5, 2023

Turkey Kurds: PKK chief Ocalan calls for ceasefire

The jailed leader of Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey, Abdullah Ocalan, has called for a truce after years of war. Ocalan also urged his fighters to withdraw from Turkey, in a message read out during Kurdish New Year celebrations in the city of Diyarbakir, BBC informs.The truce call follows months of peace talks between his PKK forces and the Turkish state.More than 40,000 people have died in the 30-year fight for an ethnic Kurdish homeland in Turkey’s south-east. Several previous ceasefire attempts have failed. The PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) leader has been in Turkish custody since his capture in Kenya in 1999.Tens of thousands of people gathered to hear Ocalan’s announcement in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir. It was read out to the crowd by two MPs in Kurdish and Turkish. “Today I start a new process witnessed by millions of people,” Ocalan said, as reported by Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper. “The period of democratic rights, freedom and equality starts. “Let us silence the weapons. The bloodshed of the Turkish and Kurdish people will end. “Lay down your weapons and exit [Turkish] borders.”

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