Today is Newroz, an occasion celebrated by many as the traditional Iranian new year. In Kurdish legend, the holiday celebrates the deliverance of the Kurds from a tyrant, and it is seen as another way of demonstrating support for the Kurdish cause.
Today this cultural phenomenon is expected to take on even greater political significance, transmuting legend into current affairs. Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), is due to use today’s celebrations to announce an historic truce with the Turkish state. The ceasefire would end 30 years of armed conflict.
As the Guardian writes today:
“The statement I am preparing will be a historical call,” Ocalan said. He also pleaded for the support of the Turkish government: “We want to rapidly solve the arms problem without losing time or another life.”
In an important symbolic gesture last week, the PKK released eight Turkish hostages who had been held captive in northern Iraq for up to two years. But in a sign of the possible backlash to come, a leftist group scornful of the rapprochement launched a bomb and missile attack on government buildings overnight. One person was injured.
“The announcement of the ceasefire will be one of the most important steps ever in the history of this conflict,” Mesut Yegen, a historian of the Kurdish issue, said. The ceasefire will be the first step of a so-called “roadmap” proposed by Ocalan a couple of weeks ago.
If successful, it would further reinforce peace talks that began in October last year and that might yet spell the end to the devastating conflict that has claimed more than 40,000 lives since it erupted in 1984.
Click here to read the rest of today’s Guardian article.
Pluto is fortunate enough to be the publisher distributing Abdullah Öcalan’s books, Prison Writings (2007) and Prison Writings II: The PKK and the Kurdish Question in the 21st Century (2011). The latter is available from our online webshop.
The PKK and the Kurdish Question in the 21st Century
Abdullah Öcalan. Translated by Klaus Happel
Second volume of writings on the Kurds from Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).