Ocalan statement: Key excerpts
- 21 March 2013
- From the section Europe
Jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has called for a truce after years of war. Key parts of his message, read out during Kurdish New Year celebrations in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, appear below:
"We have now reached a point where 'weapons should be silent and ideas and politics should speak'. The modernist paradigm that ignores, denies and excludes has been shattered. Now a new period begins, [where] politics, not weapons, come to the fore.
It is now the phase for our armed units to move across the border [out of Turkey]. I believe that everybody who opened their hearts to me and who believes in this cause will respect the delicacies of this process to the very end.
This is not an end, but a new beginning. This is not to give up the struggle, but to start a different struggle.
"This struggle that started with my personal rebellion against the despair, ignorance and slavery into which we were born, aimed to form an awareness, an understanding and a spirit against all forms of imposition. I see today that this outcry has reached a certain point.
"Our fight has not been and cannot be against any race, religion, sect or group. Our fight has been against oppression, ignorance, unfairness, backwardness and all sorts of oppression and constraints. We are today waking up to a new Turkey, a new Middle East and a new future.
"Regimes of exploitation, oppression and exclusionary understandings have come to an end. Peoples of the Middle East and of Central Asia are now awakening. They are turning back to themselves and to their origins. They are saying 'stop' to provocative and undermining wars and clashes.
"Today begins a new period. Now a door is opening to a process of democratic politics from the process of armed resistance. A process that is mostly political, social and economic is starting, an understanding that is based on democratic rights, freedoms and equality is developing.
"We have sacrificed decades for [the Kurds] and have paid a big price. None of these sacrifices and struggles were in vain. Kurds regained their self-awareness, essence and identity.
"Turks and Kurds fell as martyrs in Gallipoli side by side, fought in the War of Independence together, opened the National Assembly of 1920 together. The reality dictated by our common past is the necessity to found our future together. The spirit at the foundation of the Turkish Grand National Assembly illuminates the new phase today.
"The inclusive and comprehensive nature of the concept of 'us' that has an important part in this region's history has been reduced to 'me' by government elites. It is now time to restore the concept of 'us' in its former spirit and practice."