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FACTBOX-Who is PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan?
July 24 (Reuters) - Turkey said this week it may unveil reforms to resolve the Kurdish issue, pre-empting a "road map" from jailed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Here are some key facts about Ocalan:
* A "ROAD MAP:
-- Ocalan's lawyers have contacted academics and journalists this month to sound them out on a "road map" which he plans to release on Aug. 15, the date on which the PKK made its first armed attack in 1984.
-- He was reported as saying in Nov. 2007 that he was open to a democratic solution to the conflict between the Turkish military and his guerrilla group. -- Details of the plan are not known yet, but Sabah newspaper on Friday, quoting a source close to Ocalan, detailed a 10-point plan on which it said Ocalan was working, including a ceasefire, a general amnesty for the PKK, Kurdish-language education and moves towards autonomy for Kurdish regions.
-- Such measures are often quoted. Ocalan's lawyer Irfan Dundar, a regular visitor to the jail where Ocalan is being held, rejected the report.
* A DEATH SENTENCE:
-- Ocalan was captured by Turkish special forces in Kenya in Feb. 1999 after fleeing his safe haven in Syria, from where he was forced to leave following Turkish pressure. He had been given refuge in the Greek embassy in Nairobi.
-- Turkey holds Ocalan responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people since 1984 when the PKK took up arms for a Kurdish homeland in southeastern Turkey. Ocalan was charged with treason and sentenced to hang by a Turkish court in 1999.
-- The sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in Oct. 2002 after Turkey abolished the death penalty under pressure from the EU, which Ankara wants to join. He is being held in solitary confinement in a top security prison on the island of Imrali. It was emptied of all prisoners to make way for Ocalan.
-- In 2005 Europe's top human rights court declared Ocalan's trial unfair, pressuring Turkey to defy nationalist anger and order a retrial. Turkey's president said parliament must first remove legal obstacles before he could be retried.
-- In Feb. 2007 the Council of Europe's committee of ministers, which supervises the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, dropped its call for Turkey to reopen the case, saying Turkey's obligations were met. A Turkish court had examined the request and rejected it, and as a result, the committee had decided to close its examination of the case.
* POLITICAL STRUGGLES:
-- Ocalan, born in 1948 to a poor peasant family in the Kurdish village of Omerli in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa, developed his revolutionary ideas amid the violent political turmoil of Turkey in the 1970s.
-- A drop-out from Ankara University's political science faculty, Ocalan, known as Apo, founded the group in 1974. It was formally established in 1978 and adopted the name Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), as a Marxist-Leninist insurgent group fighting for Kurdish independence. He never fought in the front lines, preferring to run his campaign from Syria.
-- The PKK's main political goal was originally the creation of an independent socialist state in southeast Turkey. Those aims have since been watered down and it now puts the stress on cultural reforms and autonomy for Kurdish regions.
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