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Jailed Kurdish leader in Turkey urges PKK to lay down arms

Masked Kurdish people hold a portait of jailed Kurdish rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan during a 2013 ceremony in Urfa, southeastern TurkeyThe jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Saturday urged the separatists to take a “historic” decision to lay down arms, a key step in efforts to end Turkey’s long-running Kurdish insurgency. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed the call as “very, very important” but cautioned that earlier calls made by the Kurdish rebels had failed. Reading a statement live on television, Sirri Sureyya Onder, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), relayed a message from Abdullah Ocalan calling on the Kurdish rebels to hold a congress on disarmament in the spring.

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