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Kurdish Leader Declares Truce With Turkey


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kurdish-leader-declares-truce-with-turkey.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0NY Times:


March 21, 2013


DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — The jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan on Thursday called for a cease-fire and the removal of all his fighters from Turkish soil, in a landmark moment for a newly energized effort to end three decades of armed conflict with the Turkish government.


“We have reached the point where weapons should go silent and ideas should speak,” Mr. Ocalan wrote in a letter read out to jubilant crowds gathered in the Kurdish heartland here in southern Turkey. “A new era starts when politics, instead of guns, comes to the forefront.”


The conflict between Mr. Ocalan’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., and the Turkish government has claimed nearly 45,000 lives and has deeply scarred society since its start in 1984. While there have been previous periods of cease-fire between Turkey and the group, never before has a broader peace process had as much support at the highest levels of both the Turkish and Kurdish leadership.


* For the Turkish government, the effort to seek peace within its borders has been seen as a critical step in its ambition to be a regional power. For the Kurds, the call for peace carries with it the hope of expanded rights under a new constitution and the freedom to express a separate identity within a country that for decades denied their existence, forbade them to speak their language and abused their activists.




^ Read History.

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