Diyarbakır NGOs say PKK cease-fire end won’t help Kurdish cause

Diyarbakır NGOs say PKK cease-fire end won’t help Kurdish cause

March 03, 2011, Thursday/ 17:41:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Nongovernmental organizations in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır have expressed their disapproval of a recent decision by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to end a unilateral cease-fire against Turkish security forces, saying such a decision is not conducive to a settlement of the long-running Kurdish problem.

Diyarbakır Trade and Industry Chamber (DTSO) President Galip Ensarioğlu said there is an ongoing process for the settlement of the Kurdish question, and both parties -- the PKK and the Turkish government and security forces -- should avoid any steps that would disrupt the process. “There is a mutual cease-fire even if it is not being mentioned out loud. The Turkish military is not launching operations against the PKK. Turkey has some very serious problems. And the Kurds have demands [from the state]. Among these demands are the redefinition of citizenship and the provision of education in the Kurdish language at schools,” he noted. Ensarioğlu added that, given that Turkey is heading toward parliamentary elections, everyone will share responsibility if there is any bloodshed in the interim. The PKK declared a cease-fire, more commonly referred to as “non-action decision,” on Aug. 13 of last year. The ending of the cease-fire is seen as an attempt to foment chaos ahead of elections. Turkey is slated to go to the ballot box in June.

According to several nongovernmental organizations based in Diyarbakır, a PKK decision to end a unilateral cease-fire against Turkish security forces will not help the solution of the Kurdish question, which has existed since the early years of the proclamation of the republic but turned violent after the establishment of the PKK terrorist organization

Dicle Societal Research Center (DİTAM) President Mehmet Kaya said weapons should not be used as an instrument to seek one’s rights. “It is an outdated method to pursue your rights through the use of weapons. We are experiencing troublesome times. It would not benefit anyone if tensions increased. … Democratic steps should be accelerated,” he said.

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government announced its “Kurdish initiative” in the summer of 2009 to settle the country’s decades-old Kurdish question through peaceful and democratic means. The initiative aimed to grant broader political and cultural rights to Turkey’s Kurds. However, little progress appears to have been made in the past couple of months.

“We may witness provocative times in the days to come. There may be people who will benefit from acts of provocation. We should be watchful against such provocateurs,” Kaya added.

In addition, Diyarbakır Organized Industrial Zone Businessmen’s Association (DOSİAD) President Aziz Özkılıç said financial investments flowing to the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey would stop if armed clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces were to resume. “There cannot be peace in a place where there is violence. An atmosphere of peace has reigned in Diyarbakır since the weapons were silenced. Opportunities for employment and investment have grown stronger. The PKK’s decision to announce the end of the cease-fire means that acts of violence will soon start. This will mean a lack of peace for Turkey,” Özkılıç stated.

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