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Thu 21 Mar 2013

Kurdistan Worker's Party could start ceasefire called by jailed leader Ocalan

The Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) may lay down its arms after the Turkish government reached an armistice deal with jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan in early January. 

Following the break-through in a new round of talks between Ankara and Ocalan, the two parties have agreed on a roadmap to end a three-decade long insurgency that has claimed more than 45,000 lives to date. 

Late February, Ocalan envisaged a peace-plan for his party that would see the movement withdraw from Turkish territory by August 15.

The government is expected to reciprocate the ceasefire by granting wider rights to the Kurdish minority in Turkey. The rebels also demand the release of hundreds of Kurdish activists held in prison over links to the PKK. In addition, they would like to see Kurdish identity recognized in Turkey's new constitution.  

The PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, the United States and the European Union, is a guerrilla movement that has been fighting for the autonomy of Kurdistan and greater rights for Kurds in Turkey.

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