Kurdish leader urges militants to leave Turkey

Leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan, jailed on Imrali Island in the Marmara Sea, has urged the party to stop fighting the Turkish authorities and leave the country to start peace talks, the Peace and Democracy Party announced in Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey.

600 journalists arrived in the city on March 21 to hear Ocalan’s speech. The speech marks Nowruz. March 21 has become a day off for the first time in Diyarbakir. Not a single Nowruz has been marked without violence for 30 years.

The director of the Center for Studies of Public Opinion, Mehmet Kaya, said that barricades and police groups were removed.

The Kurds are one of the oldest ethnicities of Western Asia. They are the fourth largest ethnicity in the region after Arabs, Turks and Persians. They have a population of about 35 million people, but have never had their own state.

Kurds are the majority population in Eastern Anatolia, an area with 30% of the Turkish population.
Turkey treats Kurds according to the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1923.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues meetings with Ocalan, an authoritative figure of the PKK party, to stop tensions.

Over 45,000 people have died during the war between the PKK and Turkey. The UN and the EU consider the PKK to be a terrorist organization.

Erdogan is realizing a program that gives Kurds cultural rights and freedoms, including education in their native language. The EU considers this to be an essential process for Turkey to join the union.

Adapted from Vestnik Kavkaza



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