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 Massoud Barzani calls Turkey to release Ocalan and offers to mediate between it and PKK: Turkish Milliyet newspaper 

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Massoud Barzani calls Turkey to release Ocalan and offers to mediate between it and PKK: Milliyet  14.11.2012 







November 14, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq',— The President of Iraq's Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani demanded on Wednesday, the Turkish authorities to respond to the demands of the Kurdish detainees who are on hunger strike in Turkish prisons, which are studying in Kurdish language in their areas and release the leader of the Turkish PKK, Abdullah Ocalan in return to end the strike, offering to mediate between Ankara and PKK to cease-fire.

(Milliyet) Turkish newspaper said in an interview with Barzani on Tuesday, briefed by Shafaq News, that "Barzani demanded the Turkish government to respond to the demands of the detainees on hunger strike for more than two months in the Turkish prisons," pointing out that “he demanded in return from these strikers to end their activity by saying, "it became necessary to end these detainees strike because they reached the brink of death."

Barzani said that "it is necessary that the Turkish government would respond to the demands of these strikers," demanding "the PKK and the Turkish government to declared ceasing fire and starting dialogue," according to the newspaper.

“Barzani offered to mediate between the two sides to resolve the problem peacefully," he said in the interview.

The main demands of the detainees on hunger strike in Turkish prisons since 64 days ago are briefed by releasing the leader of the Turkish PKK,www.ekurd.net Abdullah Ocalan and allowing to study Kurdish in Kurdish-majority areas in Turkey and improving the situation of the Kurds in general.

Some 700 Kurdish political prisoners in dozens of prisons are refusing solid food. They want Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government to allow the leader of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned on an island south of Istanbul, to have access to lawyers after 15 months of no contact.

Ocalan was charged with treason and sentenced to hang in 1999 but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in October 2002 after Turkey abolished the death penalty under pressure from the EU, which Ankara wants to join.

Ocalan has a high symbolic value for most Kurds in Turkey and worldwide.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country. By 2012, more than 45,000 people have since been killed.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey.  A large Turkey's Kurdish community, numbering to 23 million, openly sympathise with PKK rebels.

The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

The rebels have scaled back their demands for more political autonomy for the Kurds.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S. Also the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency shafaaq.com | ekurd.net | AFP | Agencies

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