Turkey Turns to PKK Leader to Resolve Kurdish Conflict

Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan

ISTANBUL (Reuters)—The Turkish government and the jailed leader of a Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have agreed on the framework for a plan to end a war that has killed 40,000 people since 1984, envisaging rebel disarmament in exchange for increased minority rights, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

The Radikal daily said senior intelligence officials had held meetings with PKK chief Abdullah Ocalan in his island jail near Istanbul, yielding a four-stage plan to halt the conflict.

Previous negotiations with the PKK were highly secretive and appeared to have run aground. The open acknowledgment of the latest contact has raised hopes for a renewed peace effort, including from the main pro-Kurdish party in parliament.

“Meeting with Ocalan…is a correct step, it’s logical and appropriate,” Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) leader Selahattin Demirtas told members of his party in the assembly in Ankara.

“Peace in Turkey can only begin with this step.”

Radikal said that after an initial end to hostilities the PKK fighters would withdraw from Turkish territory, after which disarmament talks would begin, before a final process of the militants laying down their weapons.

Ocalan will prepare four letters setting out his vision for a solution to the conflict to be addressed to the BDP, to the PKK commanders in northern Iraq, to Europe, where many PKK activists are based, and to the Turkish public, Radikal said.

The “roadmap” would involve releasing from custody thousands of people accused of PKK links.

It would also lead to constitutional reforms removing obstacles to Kurdish language education, strengthening local administrations and an ethnically neutral definition of citizenship, describing people as citizens of Turkey rather than Turkish citizens.

There was no official confirmation of any agreement and Radikal did not specify its sources but it is generally regarded as being reliable on the Kurdish issue.

Ocalan’s demands appeared to be limited, with no references to an independent Kurdistan, a federation or the concept of “democratic autonomy” which has been proposed by Kurdish politicians, according to the report.

While there was cautious optimism regarding the prospect of negotiations in Ankara, violence continued in the southeast.

Fourteen PKK fighters and a Turkish soldier were killed overnight after a group of militants, located in northern Iraq some 8 km (5 miles) from the border, opened fire on a military outpost, the local governor’s office said.

Demirtas said Ocalan, held on the island of Imrali since his capture, had shown a determination to work towards peace but that progress would depend on the government.

His own party, which is popular in the mainly Kurdish southeast, should be involved in any talks, Demirtas added.

PKK Demands Access To Ocalan
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has played down the concessions which Turkey would make to end the conflict, ruling out the prospect of Ocalan being released from Imrali and placed under house arrest or a general amnesty.

Erdogan is under pressure to stem the violence, Turkey’s main domestic security concern, particularly with presidential elections due in 2014 in which he is expected to stand.

From his prison cell, Ocalan has not been able to express his views on the process directly as he has not had access to his lawyers for 16 months, although he has had a meeting with Kurdish politicians.

The main opposition CHP party expressed support for the process for the sake of ending the bloodshed but said parties in parliament needed to work together to achieve a solution.

The leader of the nationalist MHP was fierce in his criticism of the state talks with the “Imrali monster”.

“Prime Minister Erdogan has crossed a threshold and dropped the government’s anchor in the bloody port of separatist terror,” the MHP’s Devlet Bahceli told his deputies.

There was a cautious response from senior PKK commander Murat Karayilan in northern Iraq, who said the active PKK leadership must be given direct access to Ocalan himself.

“The (PKK) armed forces are what is fundamentally important. For that reason we must have direct dialogue with the leader,” Karayilan said in an interview with a news agency close to the militants.

“There is the problem of convincing the broad command structure and fighters, not just the leadership,” he said.

Authors

Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.

3 Comments

  1. hagop hagopian said:

    No wonder you don’t see an idependent Kurdistan. They too are infected by the ottoman/turkish infection of bribery and corruption. Ocalan, you are a dead beat, you are a past hero, you are a memory, you were the creation of the turkish secret state. You got your 15 minute of fame but now, you are trying to come back from the dead by prostituting for better prison accomedations. Be a man and put up with the conditions that this world has punished you with. Let the new generation fight for their freedom and independence.

  2. George said:

    Divide and Conquer, Kurds should be more smart and not to fall into Mr. Erdogan’s sneaky strategy.

    • www.Voskanapat.info said:

      They took over Azerbaijan Sultanate – that’s smart enough to me!

      Sultan Aliyev and the entire elite of the Baku Free Gas Station are KURDS!!

      They also bring Kurds from Turkey and Iran to repopulate the lands they got by pushing out Turkic tribes of Afshars, Airums, Karakojunlu, Ak-Kojunlu, etc. to Turkey and Russia.

*

Top