The jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan is set to announce details of a keenly anticipated peace plan with Turkey, BBC News reports.
The statement is expected to be read out by pro-Kurdish politicians who visited him on Thursday, March 19.
Ocalan’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been waging a 30-year armed struggle for Kurdish independence.
A ceasefire has been in place since 2013, and there are hopes for a permanent end to the conflict. More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died in fighting for a Kurdish homeland in Turkey’s south-east.Ocalan has been in prison since 1999 serving a life sentence for treason.
The content of Ocalan’s message has not been released, but Sirri Sureyya Onder, from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), one of those who visited the rebel leader, gave some clues.
“It will be a road map for the nation and the region, with theoretical and practical details on the peace process,” he told AFP.
The statement is due to be read out in the city of Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish-populated city in eastern Turkey, amid huge Newroz, or new year, celebrations.
Ocalan made another significant announcement last month, calling for supporters to attend a conference “aimed at ending the armed struggle”.
He also declared a ceasefire in 2013 that holds despite ongoing mistrust between the two sides.
Stumbling blocks remain. The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, angered some Kurds by saying the country “never had a Kurdish problem”.
Turkey is facing parliamentary elections later this year, with analysts suggesting Erdogan’s comments were an attempt to shore-up nationalist support.