ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Jailed Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan said he is ready for a solution on the Kurdish issue and that he could stop the conflict between the Turkish state and Kurdish militants within a week, his lawyers said in a statement on Thursday.
Ocalan is the founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which launched a separatist insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984.
Ocalan has been held in an island prison since Turkish special forces captured him in Kenya in 1999 and is revered among supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who see him as key to any peace process.
A ban on visiting Ocalan, in place since 2011, was lifted in May when his lawyers met him for the first time in eight years. The lawyers said in the statement that they met him again on Wednesday.
According to the statement, Ocalan said that Kurds do not need a separate state within the framework of finding a place for themselves that was consistent with historical Turkish-Kurdish relations.
“I am trying to open a space for Kurds, come let’s solve the Kurdish issue,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
“I say, I can remove this conflict situation ... within a week. I can solve it, I have confidence in myself, I am ready for a solution. But the state ... needs to do what is necessary,” he said.
Some 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict between Turkish forces and the PKK.
Turkey saw some of the worst violence in the decades-long conflict after a ceasefire broke down in 2015 after several years of peace talks between the two sides. Ocalan had played a significant role in the peace talks.
Reporting by Daren Butler and Sarah Dadouch; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Alison Williams and Dominic Evans