World Bulletin / News Desk
PKK leader calls militants to lay down weapons and leave Turkish territory.
A message of the jailed head of militant PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, was read Thursday in Turkish and Kurdish at Nowruz celebrations in Turkey's southeastern Diyarbakir province.
Peace and Democracy Party lawmaker Sirri Sureyya Onder read the message in Turkish following BDP Group deputy Chairman Pervin Buldan reading the statement of Ocalan in Kurdish.
"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," the message said.
"Hundreds of thousands and millions of people whose hearts burn with the fire of Nowruz say 'peace' and ask for resolution. Our struggle has never been or will never be against any sect, ethnic group or religion. Our struggle was against oppression, ignorance, inequality and all kinds of pressure. Today we are waking up to a new Turkey, new Middle East and new future," it 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. I believe those who have opened their hearts to me and believed in the process will be cautious to the sensitivity of the process till it reaches an end. This is not an end but a new beginning. It is not giving up our struggle but beginning a new one," Ocalan said.
"The truth that our mutual past puts forth is that we have to build our mutual future together. The spirit present during the establishment of the Turkish parliament enlightens the new era today.
"We are going to unite against those who try to separate us and put us in conflict against each other. Those who can not read the spirit of time are bound to go to the dump of history. Those who resist the flow of water, fall to the abyss," the message said.
Crowds gathered to listen the letter and celebrate the Nowruz festival, which marks the first day of the spring and the beginning of the new year in the Iranian calendar in Nowruz Park on Thursday in the southeastern Diyarbakir city.
Citizens coming from 85 different spots from across the city were transported by vehicles of the Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality.
Banners celebrating the Nowruz Festival both in Turkish and Kurdish were visible all across the festival area.
A 5,000-strong team of volunteers are helping police officers at security checkpoints leading to the park.
Around 500 Turkish and foreign TV channels are broadcasting the celebrations live.
The PKK leader's announcement follows months of talks with Turkish intelligence officers and Kurdish politicians on the island prison in the Marmara Sea where he has been held since his capture by Turkish special forces in Kenya in 1999.
Last Mod: 21 Mart 2013, 17:16