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Pictures | Thu Mar 26, 2015 | 1:00pm EDT

In pursuit of Kurdish peace

Two Kurdish sisters pose for a picture during Newroz celebrations in Diyarbakir, Turkey March 21, 2015. Kurds applauded last weekend's call from their jailed rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan to end a 30-year armed struggle against Turkey but deep suspicions on both sides could shatter dreams of peace. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Two Kurdish sisters pose for a picture during Newroz celebrations in Diyarbakir, Turkey March 21, 2015. Kurds applauded last weekend's call from their jailed rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan to end a 30-year armed struggle against Turkey but deep...more

Two Kurdish sisters pose for a picture during Newroz celebrations in Diyarbakir, Turkey March 21, 2015. Kurds applauded last weekend's call from their jailed rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan to end a 30-year armed struggle against Turkey but deep suspicions on both sides could shatter dreams of peace. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Ocalan began talks with Ankara in 2012 to end a conflict which has killed 40,000 people and stunted development in NATO-member Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, and impatience is growing in a peace process complicated by Kurds' involvement in fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Ocalan began talks with Ankara in 2012 to end a conflict which has killed 40,000 people and stunted development in NATO-member Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, and impatience is growing in a peace process complicated by Kurds' involvement in...more

Ocalan began talks with Ankara in 2012 to end a conflict which has killed 40,000 people and stunted development in NATO-member Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, and impatience is growing in a peace process complicated by Kurds' involvement in fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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A Kurdish man and his daughters. President Tayyip Erdogan, his attention focused on a June general election he hopes will pave the way for an executive presidency, is exerting pressure on Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to disarm, declaring there is no longer a 'Kurdish problem' thanks to reforms under his rule. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A Kurdish man and his daughters. President Tayyip Erdogan, his attention focused on a June general election he hopes will pave the way for an executive presidency, is exerting pressure on Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to disarm, declaring...more

A Kurdish man and his daughters. President Tayyip Erdogan, his attention focused on a June general election he hopes will pave the way for an executive presidency, is exerting pressure on Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to disarm, declaring there is no longer a 'Kurdish problem' thanks to reforms under his rule. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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A Kurdish woman and her son. For Kurds listening to Ocalan's message as they celebrated the Newroz spring festival, dancing to Kurdish songs and calling for his release, such talk from Erdogan is infuriating and shakes their belief in a peace process they feel is yet to yield results. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A Kurdish woman and her son. For Kurds listening to Ocalan's message as they celebrated the Newroz spring festival, dancing to Kurdish songs and calling for his release, such talk from Erdogan is infuriating and shakes their belief in a peace process...more

A Kurdish woman and her son. For Kurds listening to Ocalan's message as they celebrated the Newroz spring festival, dancing to Kurdish songs and calling for his release, such talk from Erdogan is infuriating and shakes their belief in a peace process they feel is yet to yield results. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Kurdish youths. Such sentiment is frustrating for Erdogan, who has invested huge political capital in the process, pushing through cultural reforms aimed at improving the lot of Turkey's long-suppressed Kurds, roughly 20 percent of its 78 million population. The Kurdish demands include freedom for Ocalan, steps towards political autonomy, full Kurdish language education and the overhaul of security laws used to prosecute supporters of their movement. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Kurdish youths. Such sentiment is frustrating for Erdogan, who has invested huge political capital in the process, pushing through cultural reforms aimed at improving the lot of Turkey's long-suppressed Kurds, roughly 20 percent of its 78 million...more

Kurdish youths. Such sentiment is frustrating for Erdogan, who has invested huge political capital in the process, pushing through cultural reforms aimed at improving the lot of Turkey's long-suppressed Kurds, roughly 20 percent of its 78 million population. The Kurdish demands include freedom for Ocalan, steps towards political autonomy, full Kurdish language education and the overhaul of security laws used to prosecute supporters of their movement. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Sukru Abay, 61. The banner shows images of political prisoners who died in Diyarbakir Military Prison and reads, "We love a life with honor even to die for it". REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Sukru Abay, 61. The banner shows images of political prisoners who died in Diyarbakir Military Prison and reads, "We love a life with honor even to die for it". REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Sukru Abay, 61. The banner shows images of political prisoners who died in Diyarbakir Military Prison and reads, "We love a life with honor even to die for it". REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Erdogan, who has invested huge political capital in the process, is pushing through cultural reforms aimed at improving the lot of Turkey's long-suppressed Kurds, roughly 20 percent of its 78 million population. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Erdogan, who has invested huge political capital in the process, is pushing through cultural reforms aimed at improving the lot of Turkey's long-suppressed Kurds, roughly 20 percent of its 78 million population. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Erdogan, who has invested huge political capital in the process, is pushing through cultural reforms aimed at improving the lot of Turkey's long-suppressed Kurds, roughly 20 percent of its 78 million population. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Habibe Altan, 59. "The people are losing patience and if nothing happens in a few months, hope will be completely uprooted," said Habibe Altan, 59, whose village was one of thousands destroyed during the conflict. Her son later died fighting for the PKK. "We are the ones who have been crushed. So many sacrificed their lives. Such struggle must not go to waste," she said in the city of Diyarbakir, where supporters of the pro-Kurdish HDP opposition declare an utter lack of confidence in the president. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Habibe Altan, 59. "The people are losing patience and if nothing happens in a few months, hope will be completely uprooted," said Habibe Altan, 59, whose village was one of thousands destroyed during the conflict. Her son later died fighting for the...more

Habibe Altan, 59. "The people are losing patience and if nothing happens in a few months, hope will be completely uprooted," said Habibe Altan, 59, whose village was one of thousands destroyed during the conflict. Her son later died fighting for the PKK. "We are the ones who have been crushed. So many sacrificed their lives. Such struggle must not go to waste," she said in the city of Diyarbakir, where supporters of the pro-Kurdish HDP opposition declare an utter lack of confidence in the president. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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A Kurdish couple. On the surface talks appear to be advancing rapidly. Ocalan called at the weekend for a PKK congress to end an insurgency which he described as "unsustainable". But the process' vulnerability was illustrated on Wednesday by a clash between the military and the PKK near the Iraqi border, a rare violation of a two-year ceasefire. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

A Kurdish couple. On the surface talks appear to be advancing rapidly. Ocalan called at the weekend for a PKK congress to end an insurgency which he described as "unsustainable". But the process' vulnerability was illustrated on Wednesday by a clash...more

A Kurdish couple. On the surface talks appear to be advancing rapidly. Ocalan called at the weekend for a PKK congress to end an insurgency which he described as "unsustainable". But the process' vulnerability was illustrated on Wednesday by a clash between the military and the PKK near the Iraqi border, a rare violation of a two-year ceasefire. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Sedat Ozkul, 44. "He has shown great courage in starting the process, putting his body and soul into it," Ozkul said of Erdogan. Ozkul hopes to be an AKP candidate in the June election and suspicious of the PKK commanders who live in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq. "The problem is the sincerity of Qandil and the HDP (opposition party). The ball is in their court. They must prove their sincerity." REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Sedat Ozkul, 44. "He has shown great courage in starting the process, putting his body and soul into it," Ozkul said of Erdogan. Ozkul hopes to be an AKP candidate in the June election and suspicious of the PKK commanders who live in the Qandil...more

Sedat Ozkul, 44. "He has shown great courage in starting the process, putting his body and soul into it," Ozkul said of Erdogan. Ozkul hopes to be an AKP candidate in the June election and suspicious of the PKK commanders who live in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq. "The problem is the sincerity of Qandil and the HDP (opposition party). The ball is in their court. They must prove their sincerity." REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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The peace process has been complicated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria, where the PKK has carved out a role fighting Islamic State (IS) militants, despite being considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and EU. Kurds believe the Turkish state aided IS fighters besieging the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani last autumn, triggering unrest which killed dozens of people in Turkey. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

The peace process has been complicated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria, where the PKK has carved out a role fighting Islamic State (IS) militants, despite being considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and EU. Kurds believe the...more

The peace process has been complicated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria, where the PKK has carved out a role fighting Islamic State (IS) militants, despite being considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and EU. Kurds believe the Turkish state aided IS fighters besieging the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani last autumn, triggering unrest which killed dozens of people in Turkey. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Sukru Abay, 61, recalls Diyarbakir's military prison, which is viewed as a breeding ground for the conflict, the scene of horrific torture where dozens died and many more were scarred for life in a brutal crackdown on political dissent. "The seeds of the resistance were sown in that prison and spread across Kurdistan," said Sukru Abay, 61, describing the physical abuse which he suffered and recounting how fellow prisoners went on to fight with the PKK. "They changed the direction of the state and eventually it spoke of a settlement, it had no choice. They realized it could not be solved militarily," he said, photos of those who died in the jail filling the walls of his office. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Sukru Abay, 61, recalls Diyarbakir's military prison, which is viewed as a breeding ground for the conflict, the scene of horrific torture where dozens died and many more were scarred for life in a brutal crackdown on political dissent. "The seeds of...more

Sukru Abay, 61, recalls Diyarbakir's military prison, which is viewed as a breeding ground for the conflict, the scene of horrific torture where dozens died and many more were scarred for life in a brutal crackdown on political dissent. "The seeds of the resistance were sown in that prison and spread across Kurdistan," said Sukru Abay, 61, describing the physical abuse which he suffered and recounting how fellow prisoners went on to fight with the PKK. "They changed the direction of the state and eventually it spoke of a settlement, it had no choice. They realized it could not be solved militarily," he said, photos of those who died in the jail filling the walls of his office. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Pro-Kurdish politician Abdullah Demirbas and other in opposition suggest the HDP and the AK Party are plotting a deal in which support for a presidential system would be rewarded with pro-Kurdish reforms. It is a claim fiercely rejected by the HDP. "To do secret bargaining with someone there has to be trust. Even Erdogan�s party doesn�t trust him," said Abdullah Demirbas, a former Diyarbakir district mayor whose son is fighting with forces linked to the PKK in Syria. "What are we going to do? Sacrifice everything so that Erdogan can be president. The people would kill us." REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Pro-Kurdish politician Abdullah Demirbas and other in opposition suggest the HDP and the AK Party are plotting a deal in which support for a presidential system would be rewarded with pro-Kurdish reforms. It is a claim fiercely rejected by the HDP....more

Pro-Kurdish politician Abdullah Demirbas and other in opposition suggest the HDP and the AK Party are plotting a deal in which support for a presidential system would be rewarded with pro-Kurdish reforms. It is a claim fiercely rejected by the HDP. "To do secret bargaining with someone there has to be trust. Even Erdogan�s party doesn�t trust him," said Abdullah Demirbas, a former Diyarbakir district mayor whose son is fighting with forces linked to the PKK in Syria. "What are we going to do? Sacrifice everything so that Erdogan can be president. The people would kill us." REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Diyarbakir Mayor Firat Anli, who was jailed along with thousands of other Kurds charged with links to militants, warned the positive momentum could be undermined unless proposed reforms become law. "We are in a better place than in the past but there is no guarantee. Laws have not changed ... We could all be detained, tried and punished over this tomorrow," he said in his office. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Diyarbakir Mayor Firat Anli, who was jailed along with thousands of other Kurds charged with links to militants, warned the positive momentum could be undermined unless proposed reforms become law. "We are in a better place than in the past but there...more

Diyarbakir Mayor Firat Anli, who was jailed along with thousands of other Kurds charged with links to militants, warned the positive momentum could be undermined unless proposed reforms become law. "We are in a better place than in the past but there is no guarantee. Laws have not changed ... We could all be detained, tried and punished over this tomorrow," he said in his office. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Against this backdrop, PKK commanders are in no hurry to put down their weapons despite their declared allegiance to Ocalan, jailed on the island of Imrali south of Istanbul since 1999. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Against this backdrop, PKK commanders are in no hurry to put down their weapons despite their declared allegiance to Ocalan, jailed on the island of Imrali south of Istanbul since 1999. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Against this backdrop, PKK commanders are in no hurry to put down their weapons despite their declared allegiance to Ocalan, jailed on the island of Imrali south of Istanbul since 1999. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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