The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan has announced much-expected ceasefire to end the 28-year conflict between the PKK and Ankara.

“We are at a stage where guns should be silenced,” Ocalan said in a letter written from his prison cell that was read out by a Kurdish lawmaker to crowds in the Kurdish majority city of Diyarbakir on Thursday.

It is a time for “politics to prevail, not arms,” he said, calling for the Kurd fighters to withdraw from Turkey.

“A door is opened from armed struggle to democratic struggle,” said the 64-year-old Ocalan, who has been serving a life sentence on charges of treason on Imrali island off Istanbul since 1999.

“It is not the end of the struggle, it is the beginning of a new one,” he added. “It is time for unity.”

The Turkish government welcomed the much-anticipated truce call but nevertheless said it wanted to see action as well as words.

Ankara and the PKK have been engaged in talks in a bid to end nearly three decades of conflict.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party has been fighting for self-rule for Kurds in southeastern Turkey.

The original article appeared on the PressTV website, here.