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 Osman Ocalan: Turk cities will pay if PKK leader dies in jail

 Source : AFP
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Osman Ocalan: Turk cities will pay if PKK leader dies in jail  11.11.2007

November 11, 2007

KOYA, Kurdistan region ' Iraq', -- Turkey is denying urgent medical treatment to jailed Turkey's Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, his brother charged on Saturday warning that suicide bombers would strike Turkish cities if he dies in prison.

"Thousands of people will die in Turkey, civilians as well as soldiers," Osman Ocalan told AFP in his home in Koya across the border in Iraqi Kurdistan.

"The PKK has more than 7,000 fighters," said the PKK leader's brother who spent 18 years fighting Turkish troops before abandoning the armed struggle in 2004.        

Osman Ocalan, (L), Kurdish PKK rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan (R)

"I am sure that if Apo (uncle in Kurmanci Kurdish -- Ocalan's nickname) dies, 5,000 of them will volunteer for suicide operations in the heart of Turkish cities."

Osman Ocalan, whose family has the right to make weekly half-hour visits to the PKK leader on the prison island of Imrali, south of Istanbul, where he is the sole inmate, said that his brother's health was "bad".

"He has a great deal of difficulty breathing. His lungs are damaged. We are very worried.

"The PKK has been asking for months that a team of doctors be allowed to examine him but Ankara refuses. Is that because they've something to hide? Apo is the PKK and the PKK is Apo. We must continue the fight for his release."

Ocalan, who was detained in Kenya in 1999 after being forced out of his longtime base in Syria, is serving a life sentence for separatism and treason.

The PKK launched its armed struggle for Kurdish self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeastern of Turkey in 1984. More than 37,000 people have died.

The group has stepped up its attacks in recent months, drawing Turkish threats of military action against PKK rear-bases in northern Iraq and of restrictions on the booming trade across the border.


** Kurds are not recognized as an official minority in Turkey and are denied rights granted to other minority groups. Under EU pressure, Turkey recently granted Kurds limited rights for broadcasts and education in the Kurdish language, but critics say the measures do not go far enough.

The use of the term "Kurdistan" is vigorously rejected due to its alleged political implications by the Republic of Turkey, which does not recognize the existence of a "Turkish Kurdistan" Southeast Turkey.

Others estimate over 40 million Kurds live in Big Kurdistan (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Armenia), which covers an area as big as France, about half of all Kurds which estimate to 20 million live in Turkey.

Turkey is home to over 25 million ethnic Kurds, some of whom openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK for a Kurdish homeland in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.

Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish language, prohibiting the language in education and broadcast media. The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized in Turkey, and use of the Kurdish letters X, W, Q which do not exist in the Turkish alphabet has led to judicial persecution in 2000 and 2003

The Kurdish flag flown officially in Iraqi Kurdistan but unofficially flown by Kurds in Armenia. The flag is banned in Iran, Syria, and Turkey where flying it is a criminal offence" 

Southeastern Turkey: North Kurdistan ( Kurdistan-Turkey) wikipedia   


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