PKK leader Ocalan calls for ceasefire and withdrawal of militants from Turkey.

By bne IntelliNews March 22, 2013
The jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, called for a ceasefire on Thursday, ordering armed PKK militants to withdraw from Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the city of Diyarbakir to hear Ocalans message. The military leader of the PKK, Murat Karayilan, said that the PKK strongly supported Ocalans peace initiative and it would implement the ceasefire. PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan cautiously welcomed the call, saying that Ocalans move was positive. Erdogan also said that Turkish security forces would not undertake operations against the PKK, if its militants halted their attacks. However, Erdogan stressed that what really matters is the implementation of the ceasefire. Several previous ceasefire attempts between the two sides have failed. Ocalans call followed months of secret talks between the PKK and Turkeys spy agency and now raised hopes for an end to a three-decade long conflict that has killed around 40,000 people and cost the Turkish economy billions of dollars. On a related note, the United States welcomes the announcement by the PKK to halt the violence as a positive step toward ending more than three decades of tragic violence in Turkey, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement. The United States will continue to support the people of Turkey in their effort to finally resolve this issue and move toward a brighter future, Nuland added. The yield on the two-year benchmark bond closed at 6.21% yesterday from 6.20% on Wednesday. The main share index closed up 0.3% d/d at 82,374.

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