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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 September 2006, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Kurdish rebel boss in truce plea
Abdullah Ocalan. File photo
Ocalan is serving a life sentence
Jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has called on his Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to implement a ceasefire, a Kurdish news agency says.

Ocalan also urged the PKK to seek a peaceful solution to their conflict with Turkey, Firat news agency says.

Ocalan's statement was released from prison through his lawyers.

The PKK separatists implemented a five-year unilateral ceasefire after Ocalan was arrested in 1999, but resumed armed activities in 2004.

"The PKK should not use weapons unless it is attacked with the aim of annihilation," Ocalan's statement said.

It said it was "very important to build a democratic union between Turks and Kurds. With this process, the way to democratic dialogue will be also opened".

Ocalan is serving a life sentence on the prison island of Imrali after being convicted for treason in 1999.

After his conviction, the PKK dropped its demands for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey.

In recent years it has instead been calling for Ankara to open a political dialogue, increase cultural rights for Turkey's Kurds and release imprisoned PKK members, including Ocalan.

But Ankara, which regards the PKK as a terrorist organisation, has ignored all such calls.

In recent months, Turkey has been rocked by a series of bomb attacks blamed on Kurdish rebels seeking an independent state in Turkey's south-east.

More than 30,000 people have died since the PKK took up arms in 1984.


SEE ALSO
Profile: Abdullah Ocalan
13 May 05 |  Europe
Country profile: Turkey
26 Jul 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Bomb blasts in Turkey
28 Aug 06 |  Europe

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