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IMPRISONED Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan urged “all-out resistance” by the Kurdish nation yesterday against the Islamic State (Isis) jihadist group that is seeking to overrun Kurdish forces in Syria.
Mr Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence on a prison island near Istanbul, issued the call to arms through his lawyer Mazlum Dinc.
“I call on all Kurdish people to start an all-out resistance against this high-intensity war,” he declared.
“Not only the people of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) but also all people in the north (Turkey) and other parts of Kurdistan should act accordingly.”
The Isis offensive against the northern Syrian city of Kobane, defended by the YPG Kurdish local self-defence forces, has driven 130,000 refugees to seek safety in Turkey in the last few days.
However, the Ankara government has used tear gas and water cannon against the refugees to prevent them crossing the border and to hamper Turkish Kurds in their efforts to fight alongside their fellow Kurds in Syria.
Turkey has explained its reluctance to allow Kurds to cross the border to defend Rojava by citing fears that increasing the number of armed and trained Kurds could complicate internal peace talks with the PKK.
But Mr Ocalan accused Turkey of stalling peace negotiations aimed at ending the three-decade-long conflict for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey.
PKK commander Murat Karayilan, who is based in northern Iraq, accused Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government of collaborating with Isis and declared the peace process in Turkey dead.
However, Mr Karayilan confirmed that Mr Ocalan would have the “final say” on the future of peace efforts.
Accusations that the Erdogan administration is hand in glove with Isis were strengthened on Monday when the prime minister indicated that 49 Turkish hostages may well have been traded for Isis prisoners.
Asked about it in New York, he said: “Such things may be possible.”
Mr Erdogan went on to refer to Israel’s release of 1,500 Palestinian hostages in exchange for one Israeli prisoner of war, “so you see, it’s possible.”
He did not mention allegations that his government provided trainloads of arms for Isis shortly before the handover of the Turkish hostages.
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