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Öcalan calls for new initiative to resolve Turkey’s Kurdish conflict

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Jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan has called for a new initiative to bring a peaceful settlement to the ethnic violence in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast and says he is ready to assume his role towards that end, the Artı Gerçek news website reported.

Öcalan’s remarks were released by the Asrın Law Firm, which sent a group of lawyers to meet with him on Wednesday on the prison island of İmralı.

“I am trying to make room for the Kurds. Let us resolve the Kurdish problem,” Öcalan said, referring to the armed conflict as well as the identity-related claims raised by a large part of the Kurdish population.

He also vowed to end violent clashes in a week. “I am confident that I can do it. But the government should be prepared to do its part, too,” he said.

This was the first time Öcalan has met with his lawyers in two months.

Previously, the Turkish government and Öcalan were in talks to settle the Kurdish problem and end the fighting in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast between security forces and the PKK, which has been leading an armed insurgency since the 1980s.

The violence erupted again in the summer of 2015, after the talks ended inconclusively and the ceasefire was broken.

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