1. Öcalan’s historic Newroz 2013 Statement
21 March 2013 / Peace in Kurdistan campaign
I SALUTE THE FREEDOM NEWROZ OF THE OPPRESSED
I salute the people of the Middle East and Central Asia celebrating this awakening, revival and resurgence day of Newroz with the most extensive participation and unity.
I salute all the fraternal peoples celebrating Newroz, the day of enlightenment and a turning point of a new era, with great enthusiasm and democratic tolerance.
I salute all those who are travelling on this grand path who have democratic rights, freedom and equality as their guides.
I salute you the Kurdish people from the Zagros and Taurus mountain sides, to the Euphrates and Tigris river valleys. I salute the Kurdish people who are one of the oldest peoples in the cradle of human civilisation and birthplace of agriculture in the sacred Mesopotamian and Anatolian lands to the pastoral, village and urban civilisations […]
2. Kurdish ceasefire boosts peace process in Turkey
21 March 2013 / Guardian
The jailed Kurdish guerrillas’ leader, Abdullah Öcalan , has used the Kurdish new year celebrations to call a ceasefire in the 30-year war with the Turkish state in the biggest boost to an incipient peace process in years.
“The weapons should fall silent, politics should speak,” said a statement on Thursday from Öcalan broadcast on Kurdish TV, as hundreds of thousands of Kurds thronged the streets of the south-eastern city of Diyarbakir, their capital, for the Newroz new year celebrations. The statement from the PKK leader, who has been held in solitary confinement in an island prison south of Istanbul for 14 years, was the strongest signal to date that peace talks launched tentatively last October with the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are building momentum.
3. Turkey should seize offer of peace from Kurdish guerilla leader
21 March 2013 / Guardian
Turkey’s public enemy number one did the Turkish government a big favour on Thursday. Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed Kurdish guerrilla leader and a man the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once said he would have liked to have seen hanged, called a ceasefire in one of the world’s worst and longest-running conflicts: 30 years of bloodletting between the Turkish army and Kurdish militants. Speaking via political subordinates in the south-eastern city of Diyarbakir from his prison cell on an island in the Sea of Marmara, Öcalan spoke of the dawn of a new era where ideas and politics would prevail over guns and bombs.
4. ‘Time for the guns to go silent’: jailed Kurdish rebel leader hails ‘historic truce’ and urges ceasefire with Turkey
21 March 2013 / The Independent
A historic truce between Turkey and separatist Kurdish rebels was announced today, signalling a possible end to a 30-year conflict that has claimed more than 40,000 lives.
Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), called for the rebel group’s fighters to withdraw from Turkey – where they have fought a guerrilla campaign against the state since 1984. In a written statement read out to a crowd of hundreds of thousands celebrating Kurdish New Year in the city of Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey, Öcalan said it was “time for the guns to go silent.”
5. Editorial: The PKK’s declaration of a truce in Turkey is in everyone’s interest
22 March 2013 / The Independent
The ecstatic reception among Turkey’s Kurds for the PKK’s declaration of a ceasefire this week gives Abdullah Ocalan’s announcement the fairest of winds. In a letter from prison to mark Kurdish New Year, the PKK leader wrote: “We have reached the point where weapons should fall silent and ideas should speak.” The Turkish Prime Minister conditionally promised no new military operations.
Ceasefires have been declared before, but there are compelling reasons for more optimism this time, and not only because of the clear desire of Turkey’s Kurds for peace after almost 30 years of intermittent war. For once, the stars in Ankara and Diyarbakir seem to be in alignment. Both the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the PKK have an interest in exploring the prospects for peace. The hope must be that this truce solidifies into a permanent settlement.
6. Erdogan should pursue lasting truce with the PKK
22 March 2013 / The Independent
Is PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan’s call for a withdrawal of his fighters from Turkey the beginning of a historic compromise between the Turkish Kurds and the central government? Such ceasefires have happened before only to founder because Ankara’s concessions to the Kurds have been marginal and repression has returned after a brief hiatus. The most hopeful aspect of the new attempt at compromise is that the regional context in which it is happening has changed. Solution to the Kurdish conflict in Turkey is essential if it wants to expand its influence in Iraq and important if it is to do the same in Syria. Turkey now has good relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraqi Kurdistan, which it once demonised for giving covert sanctuary to the PKK guerrillas in the inaccessible Qandil Mountains on the Iranian border. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/erdogan-should-pursue-lasting-truce-with-the-pkk-8544648.html
7. Kurds celebrate ceasefire with Turkey in Diyarbakir
21 March 2013 / Morning Star
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir today to hear the long-awaited announcement of a ceasefire with Turkey.
In a message read by a Kurdish MP in the Kurdish language, the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) called for a ceasefire and the withdrawal of thousands of Kurdish militants from Turkish territory.
Abdullah Ocalan said: “We have reached the point where the guns must be silenced and where ideas must speak.
“A new era has started, where it is politics, not guns, which is at the forefront.
“We have reached the stage where our armed elements need to retreat beyond the border.”
8. Kurdish leader Ocalan declares ceasefire
21 March 2013 / Financial Times
Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the armed Kurdish group that has battled Turkey for 30 years, has called on his organisation to give up its weapons and embrace politics instead.
In what was seen as a historic address, given amid scenes of mass jubilation on Thursday, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers party, or PKK, proclaimed an immediate ceasefire in a conflict that has claimed about 35,000 lives.
The PKK is classified as a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU, and the US.
“Let the guns fall silent, let ideas speak,” Mr Ocalan said in comments read out on his behalf by pro-Kurdish legislators to hundreds of thousands of people at the traditional Kurdish new year celebration in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.
“This is not giving up the struggle, this is a new struggle . . . Today, we are waking up to a new Turkey, to a new Middle East, to a new future.”
9. Peace dividends
24 March 2013 / Financial Times
The ceasefire declared last week on behalf of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK), is a moment that – if its promise is brought to fruition – will mark the beginning of benefits reaching well beyond the Turkish state’s battle with Kurdish separatists.
Burying a conflict that has raged for decades and taken tens of thousands of lives alone would be a big enough prize. But if reconciliation really takes place, it will buy rewards far beyond the peace itself. The most obvious ones are material. Turkey’s economy has had a good ride during Mr Erdogan’s time in power – no small cause of his party’s enduring popularity.
10. Jailed Leader of the Kurds Offers a Truce With Turkey
21 March 2013 / New York Times
The jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan on Thursday called for a cease-fire and ordered all his fighters off Turkish soil, in a landmark moment for a newly energized effort to end three decades of armed conflict with the Turkish government. Since its start late last year, the peace effort has transfixed a Turkish public traumatized by a long and bloody conflict that has claimed nearly 40,000 lives and fractured society along ethnic lines. While there have been previous periods of cease-fire between Turkey and Mr. Ocalan’s group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., never before has there been so much support at the highest levels of both the Turkish and Kurdish leadership. “We reached the point where weapons should go silent and ideas 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.”
11. Jailed Kurdish rebel leader calls for historic truce, Turkish prime minister voices caution
21 March 2103 / Washington Post
Government officials have warned of possible attempts to “sabotage” the talks by groups opposed to the peace initiative. Erdogan suggested that attacks this week on the Justice Ministry and the headquarters of his ruling party — which wounded one person — may have been an attempt to undercut the peace process.
In a poignant reminder of the precarious nature of the initiative, a sign posted at the spring festivities read: “We are ready for (both) peace and insurgency.
Kurds make up an estimated 20 percent of Turkey’s population of 75 million. The rebels took up arms in 1984 to fight for Kurdish independence, but later revised that goal to autonomy in southeastern Turkey. The group frequently launched attacks on Turkey from bases in northern Iraq.
12. Kurdish rebels will heed their leader’s call for peace with Turkey, news reports say
22 March 2013 / Washington Post
A senior Kurdish politician said Friday that the Kurdish rebels’ armed struggle against Turkey was “99 percent over,” a day after the rebel leader called for a cease-fire and retreat and the insurgents gave a positive response. Imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is engaged in talks with Turkish officials to end a nearly 30-year-old conflict, appealed to his fighters on Thursday to cease hostilities, a major step toward ending one of the world’s bloodiest insurgencies. His message was read by Kurdish legislators at a spring festival attended by hundreds of thousands of Kurds. Kurdish rebels will heed their leader’s call for peace with Turkey, news reports say Rebel commander Murat Karayilan has indicated that guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, would heed the call, according to Radikal newspaper and the pro-Kurdish Firat News website.
13. Turkey’s Kurdish Spring: Historic Day Full of Hope — Doubts Too
21 March 2013 / Huffington Post
On Thursday, as the spring festival Nevruz was celebrated in Diyarbakır, its historic significance was far beyond the typical joy of jumping over fires.
For the millions of Kurds of Turkey it promises to go down in history as a powerful momentum, a memorable threshold towards the end of a decades-old oppression, severe denial and, most important of all, an endless wave of violence which generations of Kurds and Turks turned into an ethnic vendetta for almost three decades.
If anything, the bonfires of Nevruz just symbolize the evil, vicious circle of death and destruction. A lot of the answers to questions about the process will be found, and whether the mass jumping over them, and dancing, will truly mean bringing “peace at last” to this country in transition is to be seen. Diyarbakır’s cheerful crowds, the hundreds of thousands of Kurds gathered under the (symbolic) sunshine, were keen on supporting all the civilian efforts to silence the language of weapons.
14. Peace comes to Turkey
24 March 2013 / The New Yorker
On Thursday afternoon, in front of a crowd so large it surged over fences and up scaffolding, peace was declared in Turkey. A letter from Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned founder of the P.K.K. (Kurdistan Worker’s Party, the armed Kurdish resistance) had been carried from the island prison where he is being held to Newroz Park on the outskirts of Diyarbakir, where it was read—first in Kurdish and then in Turkish—from a stage positioned at the tip of an asphalt field that had been hand-painted with the Kurdish colors and atop which the crowd waved smaller red, yellow, and green flags. It was Newroz, the Kurdish New Year and the start of spring. “Today a new period is beginning,” the letter read. “From a period of armed resistance, a door has been opened to democratic struggle.” Later, when the speaker read Ocalan’s question, “Will you answer my call,” the crowd answered by holding aloft emphatic v-for-victory signs.
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
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