ANKARA, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Thursday that the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) may declare a cease-fire before March 21, local media reported.
Arinc said jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan had sent a letter to the PKK militants in northern Iraq to initiate the cease-fire before March 21, on which Ocalan was expected to call for a cease- fire as the first step of a peace process.
Last month, a delegation, including Peace and Democracy Party ( BDP) lawmakers and non-governmental organization representatives, visited northern Iraq and persuaded the PKK to release eight hostages who were released on Wednesday. The release was widely seen as a solid step in the ongoing peace process.
Ocalan has proposed a roadmap to establish peace, including withdrawing PKK's 4,000 Turkey-based militants out of Turkey in May and June if the Turkish government guarantees that no operations will be launched against the PKK members.
The peace negotiation between the Turkish government and the outlawed PKK was launched last October, aiming to disarm the PKK which has been in conflict with the government for decades.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms in 1984 in an attempt to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Since then, over 35,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving the group.