World Bulletin / News Desk
A delegation from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said Monday after meeting with jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan that Öcalan’s call for a cease-fire will be announced on March 21, the day the spring festival of Nevruz is observed by Kurds in Turkey.
The delegation, including BDP Co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş and deputies Pervin Buldan and Sırrı Süreyya Önder, set off by boat early on Monday from İstanbul's Ataköy Marina for İmralı Island, where Öcalan has been imprisoned since his capture in 1999. The visit came as part of ongoing peace talks aimed at resolving Turkey's long-standing terrorism problem.
Returning from the island, Demirtaş called a press conference and read a statement by the militant head. In his message, Öcalan said he will make a "historic call" on March 21. He was probably referring to make a call on PKK militants to declare a ceasefire.
“Our objective is the democratization of Turkey. Our works are under way to make a call to this end on March 21. A declaration I will prepare will be a historic one. It will have required elements for the political and military solution of the issue [PKK terror]. I want to solve the weapons issue rapidly," read Öcalan's message. The PKK leader also made a call on political parties and Parliament to do "what falls on them" for the continuation of the peace process. He also said he expects to provide further details about the course of the process.
Turkish state authorities have been holding peace negotiations with Öcalan since last October, with the aim of achieving a timetable for the disarmament of PKK militants. Öcalan has significant influence among PKK members and supporters, and the state believes that talks with the militant head will achieve their goals of a withdrawal of PKK militants from Turkey and, in the long run, full disarmament.Last Mod: 18 Mart 2013, 17:24