ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)—The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has received the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) message for a ceasefire, HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas has said, citing a European-based PKK senior figure who said that the PKK was ready to sit down for negotiations if dialogue was restarted.
When asked whether or not the PKK had received the HDP’s message on a ceasefire, Demirtas claimed the organization had gotten the message and that Remzi Kartal, a senior PKK member in Europe and a former deputy of Turkish parliament, said they were ready to return to the table to continue negotiations.
“[The PKK] has perceived [the message]. Even an answer came to it. In Europe Remzi Kartal said they were ready to return to the table and a ceasefire,” Demirtas told Deutsche Welle Turkce in a private interview.
Kartal was elected to Turkish parliament in 1991 when the now-defunct pro-Kurdish People’s Labor Party (HEP) entered the elections on the now-defunct Social Democratic People’s Party (SHP) ticket. When the HEP faced closure, they joined the Democracy Party (DEP), also now defunct.
Kartal moved to Europe in 1995 after the DEP was outlawed in 1994 for collaborating with the PKK. A decision for his arrest was released after his parliamentary immunity was lifted. He has been living in Europe since then.
Stating that the PKK and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) could not be put in the same equation, Demirtas said the PKK was an organization that has been conducting negotiations with the Turkish government for the past three years and an organization that announced it was ready for a ceasefire.
“It is wiser and more beneficial for Turkey to establish a dialogue with an organization that is ready to talk rather than conduct airstrikes,” Demirtas said.
The HDP co-chair said the Kurdish peace process was not over and they had to be hopeful for it to continue. “Peace would end when hopes fail,” he said.