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Turkey rules out freedom for PKK leader

Feb. 18, 2013 at 12:24 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- There's no chance the Turkish government will pardon jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag.

A pro-Kurdish group took out an advertisement in British newspaper The Guardian advocating freedom for Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party jailed since 1999.

Bozdag said the ad undermined renewed efforts to find a solution to the Kurdish issue. The separatist group, known by its Kurdish initials PKK, has fought the Turkish government to gain more recognition for Kurdish rights.

The deputy prime minister said Ocalan's freedom "will not and cannot happen," reports Turkish daily Today's Zaman.

Turkey recently reached out to Ocalan to find a solution to a crisis brewing since the 1980s. The peace process comes after the killing of three high-ranking members of the separatist movement in early January in Paris.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there is no justification for terrorism in Turkey but the government was committed to peace initiatives with the PKK.

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