Massoud Barzani calls Turkey to release
Ocalan and offers to mediate between it and PKK:
November 14, 2012
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
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
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
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
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
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
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
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