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Kurdish rebel leader set to announce Turkey peace plan

People wave Kurdish flags and flags bearing the portrait of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan as they celebrate Newroz, which marks the arrival of spring and the new year, in the Turkish town of Suruc, on March 17, 2015The jailed leader of Turkey’s Kurdish rebels is set Saturday to announce a new roadmap for peace as expectations grow of a breakthrough in efforts to end a three-decades insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. The statement by Abdullah Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence on a prison island in the Sea of Marmara, is expected to be read out in the eastern city of Diyarbakir by deputies from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). The eagerly-anticipated statement coincides with huge celebrations expected in Diyarbakir and other Kurdish-majority cities in Turkey for the traditional Persian Nowruz (Newroz in Kurdish) New Year on Saturday. Ocalan, who has been held by Turkey since his sensational arrest by Turkish agents in Kenya in 1999, is known to his followers as “Apo” (“Uncle”) and remains the main leader of Turkish Kurds despite his incarceration.

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