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Turkey

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Index
  1. Turkey Main Page
  2. A New Republic and President
  3. Oppression of Kurds and Kurdish Culture and Deadly Clashes
  4. Terrorism; Attempts to Improve the Government
  5. Improvements for Civil Rights and the Secular Movement
  6. Turkey Takes on Bigger Role on the World Stage
  7. 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Turkey
  8. Relations Between Syria and Turkey Deteriorate
  9. PKK Leader Declares Cease-fire
  10. Israel Formally Apologies to Turkey for 2010 Commando Raid
  11. Anti-Government Protests Call for Erdogan's Resignation
  12. Erdogan Elected President
  13. Erdogan Resists the Fight Against ISIS
  14. Erdogan Loses Majority in Parliament
PKK Leader Declares Cease-fire

On March 13, 2013, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) released eight Turkish soldiers and civil servants. The captives were kidnapped in 2011 and 2012 and held by the Kurdish militants in the mountains of northern Iraq. The PKK has been using forms of guerrilla warfare against Turkey for almost three decades.

After months of talks with the Turkish government, imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in March 2013 declared a cease-fire and ordered Kurdish fighters to withdraw from Turkey and retreat to Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region. "We have reached the point where weapons should be silent and ideas and politics should speak," he said in a statement. The announcement was considered a historic breakthrough. Optimism for peace was short-lived, however, and the cease-fire fell apart in September. The PKK claimed that the Turkish government had not followed through on promises to negotiate with the Kurds. In October, Erdogan unveiled a package of reforms in late September aimed at reopening a dialogue with the Kurds. The reforms included lifting a ban on teaching the Kurdish language in private schools, allowing villages to reclaim their Kurdish names, and making it easier for Kurds to be elected to parliament. Many Kurds, however, said the reforms did not go far enough. In particular, they bemoaned the fact that the reforms did not include revising the country's anti-terrorism laws, which have landed thousands of Kurdish activists in jail. In addition, the package included returning confiscated property to Syriac Orthodox Christians and easing restrictions on women wearing headscarves in public. Many believe the package was an attempt by Erdogan to restore confidence among Turks ahead of 2014 elections.

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