Thousands of Kurds rally in towns across Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, some clashing with riot police, as they call for release of rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Thousands of Kurds rallied in towns across Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast on Sunday and some clashed with riot police. The protesters were calling for the release of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan on the 16th anniversary of his capture. The leader of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is viewed by nationalist Turks as responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people in the group's 30-year armed struggle with the Turkish army. But for many of Turkey's estimated 15 million Kurds, the 65-year-old represents their bitter struggle for greater cultural and political rights. The Turkish government launched talks with Ocalan in 2012. The PKK subsequently declared a ceasefire and began withdrawing from Turkey to camps in northern Iraq where they are based. Ankara's hopes of a complete end to the PKK as an armed group have been frustrated by the role it has carved out for itself fighting in Syria and Iraq against Islamic State. On Saturday night and Sunday, demonstrators and police fought in streets in Sirnak and Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast. The PKK is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.