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Turkey to hold talks with Kurdish militants

19 November 2012

Turkey’s Justice Minister, Sadullah Ergin, has announced he is to hold talks with Kurdish militants, raising hopes of an end to a decades-old conflict. It is unclear when or where the meeting will take place but the state has held secret discusions with senior PKK members in Oslo in recent years. It follows an appeal by jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan to his supporters to end a 68-day hunger strike in prisons across the country. Some 700 Kurdish inmates, however, are still reportedly refusing solid food. There have been a number of protests in the heavily Kurdish southeast over his continued isolation and fighting between the PKK and Turkish forces surged over the summer. Ankara has linked the renewed hostilities to the conflict in neighbouring Syria and accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of arming the PKK. More than 40,000 people have been killed in 28 years of fighting between Turkey and the PKK – designated a terrorist group by Ankara, the United States and the European Union.