“We declare a ceasefire starting on March 23. If the TurkishParliament and government do the legal groundwork for a commission,we could withdraw from Turkey,” said PKK field commander MuratKarayilan in a video message broadcast during the Nevruz festivalcelebrations in Bonn, Germany.Turkey and PPK had been negotiating since October last year, but astatement from imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan on Thursday, inwhich he spoke of “fraternity” between Turks and Kurds, anda “move from armed to democratic struggle”, proved adecisive breakthrough.“Ocalan’s decision is the decision of all of us. We accept andagree with this decision. We consider its content and scopehistoric, just and very important. It’s the beginning of a newprocess and era,” declared Karayilan in his address apparentlytaped at a rebel holdout in the mountains of northern Iraq.Over 30 million Kurds live in the mountainous area between Turkey,Iran, Iraq and Syria. More than 40,000 have died during a simmeringwar of independence that began in 1984.An offensive last summer resulted in the deaths of more than 100Turkish troops and three times that number of PKK fighters.PKK, which is labeled as a terrorist organization by both the USand the European Union, is now expected to withdraw its troops fromTurkey, and begin a process of demilitarization.In return Turkey may pass a new constitution that will grantstronger political and cultural autonomy to the Kurdishpopulation.