Jailed Kurdish rebel leader, Abdullah Ocalan, has issued a call for his Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, to lay down its arms in the struggle for autonomy. Ocalan was sentenced to life for treason and separatism in 1999. In a message issued via his lawyers, he called on his guerrillas to implement an unconditional ceasefire with Turkey amid an escalation in
violence in the country’s southeast.
The PKK has distanced itself from recent attacks. Previous ceasfires by the PKK have been ignored by Turkish authorities. Ocalan is describing his plea as a possible ‘last chance’ to move the situation forward peacefully and is urging Ankara to respond this time. Analysts say despite being imprisoned, Ocalan still carries weight among Kurdish militants and his call is likely to be answered.