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Abdullah Öcalan called for a ceasefire

Hannes Swoboda, president of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, said:

"We welcome Abdullah Öcalan's call for peace talks, which gives hope for an end to the 30-year struggle between the Turkish army and the Kurdish rebels.

"This positive development could and should open the way for a new period of co-operation and peace for all Turkish citizens. Negotiations are the only sustainable solution to avoid a further escalation of violence. 

"The Turkish authorities must now create the conditions for a better relationship with Kurdish citizens, changing their approach and establishing genuine freedom of expression for all in Turkey.

"All political forces in Turkey must work to build a democratic state which fully respects human rights and freedoms.

"A just and lasting settlement of the Kurdish issue in Turkey will also have significant and positive implications for efforts towards bringing stability to the wider region." 

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