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Turks get warning: Don't hang Ocalan

BERLIN (AP) -- European governments Tuesday warned Turkey against carrying out the death sentence on rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan as Kurdish exiles gathered mostly peacefully throughout Europe to protest the verdict.

Germany, Switzerland and Norway joined the Council of Europe in appealing to Turkey to refrain from putting Ocalan to death for leading a 15-year guerrilla war for a Kurdish homeland in southeastern Turkey that has killed some 37,000 people.Imposing the death penalty threatens a rift between Turkey and its European partners as it seeks closer ties, including membership in the European Union. European leaders warned at a summit this month that the Ocalan case seriously endangers those aspirations.

"If Turkey would like the access to Europe, then it has to come closer to the standards that prevail here in Europe," said Ludger Volmer, a German Foreign Ministry official. "And these standards include either abolishing or not carrying out the death penalty."

Kurds, meanwhile, assembled in Berlin, Moscow, Amsterdam, Nicosia and elsewhere, but the protests remained mostly subdued, almost mournful.

In Amsterdam, one Kurd spoke for many when he told Dutch television what Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), meant to him: "He is my father, my mother, my future, my whole life."