Lawyers for Abdullah Ocalan said today they will ask the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, for a stay to forestall any move by Turkey to implement the Kurdish rebel leader's death sentence.

In the big cities of western Turkey, including Istanbul, as well as in the mainly Kurdish southeast, there were no significant signs of violent reaction to the death sentence imposed on Ocalan on Tuesday for his role in a 14-year campaign that has killed 29,000 people.

A photograph in the newspaper Sabah showed relatives of soldiers killed fighting Kurdish rebels rejoicing at the verdict. The headline above the picture said, "Today Is Our Holiday." A hangman's noose hung down the page beside a picture of Ocalan.

Foreign governments and international organizations have urged Turkey not to execute Ocalan. Germany, the current European Union president, said executing Ocalan could make Ankara's long-standing bid to join the 15-member bloc more difficult.

Ocalan's lawyers took formal steps to prevent implementation of the death sentence.

The European Court normally asks applicants to exhaust appeal procedures in their home country before applying to be heard by the court. But Ocalan's lawyers said their application would argue that the consequences for their client could be irreversible if he awaited completion of the Turkish appeals process.