On March 21, Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), called on on his followers to give up their armed campaign, begun in 1984, and to continue the struggle for an autonomous Kurdish state through conventional peaceful politics.
Öcalan has been held on the island of Imrali since his arrest in 1999, and his call was read out by a Kurdish MP in Diyarbakir, the main Kurdish city in southeastern Turkey, during “Nowruz”, the celebration of the Kurdish New Year.
The European Union, which “offers its full support and financial assistance to the [Turkish] pre-accession process” has “warmly welcomed” the move, which it describes as “an important step forward.”
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