Thursday, March 21, 2013

PKK To Announce Ceasefire in Turkey

A ‘Historic’ Announcement By Ocalan

Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir in anticipation of the announcement of a long-awaited ceasefire between Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, and the Turkish state. PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is expected to call for the ceasefire and to propose a road map to peace in a message that will be read out at the traditional Kurdish New Year celebrations in Diyarbakir later today. (Financial Times, 21 March)

Mr. Ocalan, who is in prison in Turkey for the past 14 years, has held extensive talks with senior Turkish officials in the past few months. The negotiations, and the expected ceasefire announcement today have raised hopes for a permanent peace in Turkey’s Kurdish region and among the country’s 15 million Kurds.

Ocalan has said his announcement will be “historic,” and the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed his satisfaction with the negotiations.

PKK took arms against the Turkish state in 1984, demanding greater autonomy for the Kurds who make up some 20 percent of Turkey’s population. In the past thirty years, hundred of thousands people have died in the conflict.

A peace with PKK will pave the way for Erdogan to finalize an agreement with Barzani’s Kurdish regional government in Erbil to directly supply Turkey the huge amount of oil and gas it needs to maintain its growing economy. Peace with its Kurdish citizens and solving its energy deficiencies could have huge implication for Turkey and the regional geopolitics for years to come.

Photo credit: Tens of thousands Kurds gathered in Diyarbakir to hear ceasefire announcement by Ocalan. (AFP/BBC/

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