Middle East

Jailed PKK leader confirms ceasefire call on Thursday

Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan poses in front of Turkish flags after he arrived at the prison island of Imrali, in the Marmara Sea in this February 18, 1999 file photo. REUTERS/Handout/Files

ISTANBUL: Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has confirmed he will call for a "historic" ceasefire on Thursday, the day of the Kurdish New Year, a pro-Kurdish lawmaker told reporters in Istanbul after meeting the jailed PKK chief.

"I continue with my preparations to make a call on March 21, during the Newroz celebrations. The declaration I am going to make will be historic," lawmaker Selahattin Demirtas said Monday, reading from a letter penned by Ocalan.

Demirtas was in the Kurdish delegation that visited Ocalan on the prison island of Imrali on Monday, the third such visit since peace talks between the state and Ocalan as chief of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) began late last year.

"I want to solve the issue of guns with haste and without a single life being lost," Ocalan said in the letter.

He also called on the Turkish parliament to do "its part" to make the peace process a permanent one, allowing thousands of Kurdish rebels to lay down arms and withdraw from Turkey in the coming months.





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