Feb. 15 - Violent protests in southeast Turkey mark the 15th anniversary of the arrest of Kurdish PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Kurds clashed with police in the southeastern Turkish province of Cizre on Saturday (February 15) during protests to mark the anniversary of the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at riot police who responded with water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Ocalan, who founded the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in 1978, was apprehended on February 15, 1999, while fleeing the Greek Embassy in Nairobi after a year-long international manhunt that took him from Syria to Russia, Italy, Greece and Kenya. He was sentenced to death later that year for treason, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison in 2002. The PKK launched a separatist campaign against the Turkish state in 1984 in which 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died. The U.S. and European Union brands the PKK as a terrorist group. Ocalan is serving a life sentence in solitary confinement in an island jail off Istanbul. He has dropped his call for an independent Kurdish homeland and now calls for a confederation with some political autonomy for Kurds.