ANKARA  - Some 700 Kurdish prisoners across Turkey on Sunday ended a 68-day hunger strike after an appeal by Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, who said at the weekend that the action had achieved its goal. The move could rekindle hopes of a long-sought settlement to the nearly three-decades-old Kurdish insurgency in Turkey’s southeast. “We take into consideration the appeal of (Kurdish leader) Abdullah Ocalan and put a halt to our action from November 18,” Deniz Kaya, a spokesman of jailed Kurdish prisoners, was quoted as saying by the pro-Kurdish news agency Firatnews. Ocalan, who himself has been in solitary confinement in a remote prison island near Istanbul.

 and barred from receiving visitors, called Saturday for an end to the hunger strike by his supporters. “This action has achieved its goal. I want them to stop their action immediately and without any hesitation,” Ocalan said, according to a statement publicised by his brother Mehmet who was allowed to meet him in prison the same day. Rights groups and doctors had warned that many hunger strikers, most of whom refused food for more than two months, were at death’s door. Turkey’s Islamic-rooted government, which was under mounting pressure on how to handle the hunger strikes, submitted a bill Tuesday to parliament to give Kurds the right to use their own language in court, a key demand of the prisoners.  But Ankara’s move was initially deemed “inadequate” by defenders of the Kurdish cause, who are also calling for improved detention conditions for Ocalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).