Kurdish rebels declare formal ceasefire with Turkey

Reuters reports: The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group declared a “formal and clear ceasefire” with Turkey on Saturday after the rebels’ jailed leader this week ordered a halt to the decades-long armed campaign for autonomy.

“Since March 21 and from now on, we as a movement, as the PKK … officially and clearly declare a ceasefire,” said Murat Karayilan, the PKK’s field commander, in a video message apparently taped at a rebel holdout in northern Iraq.

His comments were translated from Kurdish in the video posted on Firat News, a website with links to the militants.

Abdullah Ocalan, held in an island prison since his 1999 conviction for treason, called on the PKK to cease fire and withdraw from Turkey in a letter read to hundreds of thousands of supporters in the main Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on March 21, the Kurds’ traditional new year holiday.

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