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Ocalan’s Message Is Much More Than a Cease-Fire

PKK Leader Abdullah Ocalan’s message of a “cease-fire” is only the starting point for democratic discussions with the Turkish government, writes Cengiz Candar.
Pro-Kurdish politicians Sirri Sureyya Onder (3rd L) and Pervin Buldan (6th R) read the statement of jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan as they are flanked by other Kurdish politicians during a gathering to celebrate Newroz in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir March 21, 2013. Ocalan ordered his fighters on Thursday to cease fire and withdraw from Turkish soil as a step to ending a conflict that has killed 40,000 people, riven the country and battered its economy. Hundreds of thousands of K

Nowruz, known as the Iranian New Year in the western world, is the beginning of the new year for some central Asia and Balkan countries, as well as the Kurds. On March 21, 2013, Nowruz became more than the beginning of the new year for the Kurds. In Turkey, it was perceived as the beginning of a new era not only for the Kurds but also for Turkey and the entire Middle East.

Nowruz was celebrated with unprecedented euphoria by nearly two million people in Diyarbakir, the center of southeastern Turkish — revelers danced in the streets adorned in yellow, green and red, the Kurdish national colors.

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