TITLE=OCALAN - TURKEY (L ONLY)
INTRO: Imprisoned Kurdish rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan
has called for members of his outlawed Kurdistan
Workers Party, the P-K-K, to lay down their arms and
withdraw outside the borders of Turkey for what he
termed -- the sake of peace. Amberin Zaman in Ankara
reports Ocalan made his call (Tuesday) through his
TEXT: In a statement read by his lawyers, Ocalan
called for his separatist guerrilla group to halt its
attacks beginning September First. He said this would
help end, what he termed -- the deadlocked Kurdish
problem and pave the way for its solution through
democratic and peaceful means.
Analysts say his call constitutes a crucial test of
just how much influence he exerts over the P-K-K in
the wake of his capture by Turkish special agents in
Kenya last February.
Ocalan's call came within hours of a fresh rebel
attack against villagers in the southeastern Silvan
township. Six villagers were killed when the rebels
opened fire at a minibus carrying them back from a
field to their homes.
Ocalan's call comes just days ahead of the 15th
anniversary of the launch of his armed campaign for an
independent Kurdish state on August 15th 1984. Ocalan
was condemned to death in June by a Turkish court for
founding and leading the P-K-K.
The Turkish Parliament needs to approve the death
sentence before it can be carried out. The sentence
is being appealed by Ocalan's lawyers.
Turkey says it cannot and will not negotiate with,
what it terms -- a terrorist" movement and its
ringleader. But many of the most hawkish of Turkish
commentators have said the government should accept
Ocalan's offer -- made during his trial in June -- to
help end the Kurdish conflict which has claimed more
than 30-thousand lives.
Sources close to the rebels say there is little
prospect the P-K-K will end its armed fight, no matter
what its leader says -- unless the Turkish government
responds to the Kurds' demands for greater cultural
and linguistic rights. (Signed)
03-Aug-1999 10:40 AM EDT (03-Aug-1999 1440 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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