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The BBC's Pam O'Toole
''There are reports of dissent within the PKK's ranks''
 real 28k

Wednesday, 9 February, 2000, 15:58 GMT
PKK ends war with Turkey

Abdulla Ocalan PKK confirmed Abdullah Ocalan's call for peace

Abdullah Ocalan's Kurdish rebel group has announced a formal halt to its 15-year war against Turkey.

The Ocalan File
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) statement on Wednesday followed reports of the rebels splitting on whether to follow Ocalan's peace moves.

The group said in a statement on Wednesday that it would push Kurdish rights "within the framework of peace and democratisation".

The change is part of the rebels' push to transform themselves from a guerrilla force into a political group that can negotiate with Turkey.

Turkish army fighting the PKK The Turkish army has fought a bitter 15-year war with the PKK
Previous changes were welcomed in Europe but ignored by the Turkish government, which dismisses the PKK as a terrorist band.

"The democratic political struggle has been adopted to be applied in all arenas as the basic form of struggle," the PKK said in a statement.

PKK guerrillas have fought for the past 15 years for autonomy in Turkey's overwhelmingly Kurdish south-east, which they call Kurdistan.

Echo call for peace

The PKK said that its push for peace was "inseparable" from the fate of Abdullah Ocalan, now on death row in a Turkish prison.

After his capture last February, he ordered his men to stop fighting, leave the country and prepare for a transformation into a peaceful, democratic, political party.

The PKK said its congress, which met in January, "has confirmed the decision of our party leader to stop the armed struggle."

Turkey has dismissed Ocalan's calls for a political dialogue as a tactic for avoiding the gallows, and said the guerrillas must surrender without preconditions.

Turkey put on hold any decision to hang Abdullah Ocalan, pending a review by the European Court of Human Rights.

Disown renegades

Many of the guerrilla fighters have withdrawn to northern Iraq where they are engaged in heavy skirmishing with Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) fighters.

The congress called for an end to the conflict with the KDP in Iraq, and disowned a group of renegade PKK fighters believed to be active in Turkey's eastern Tunceli province.

The congress also announced changes to its logo, with a burning torch inside a star replacing a hammer and sickle inside a star.

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See also:
30 Sep 99 |  Europe
Turkey sends forces into Iraq
23 Sep 99 |  Europe
PKK sends peace mission to Turkey
02 Sep 99 |  Europe
'No more fighting,' says rebel leader
25 Aug 99 |  Europe
PKK 'starts Turkey withdrawal'
05 Aug 99 |  Europe
Analysis: What next for the PKK?
30 Jun 99 |  Europe
Analysis: What next for Ocalan and Turkey?

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