|  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
  |  
18 April 2014, Friday
 
 
Today's Zaman
 
 
 
 

Report: Era of armed struggle over, PKK chief says amidst peace talks

IN THIS JUNE 29, 1999 FILE PHOTO, KURDISTAN WORKERS' PARTY LEADER ABDULLAH ÖCALAN (R) STANDS NEXT TO A TURKISH GENDARME DURING HIS TRIAL ON THE PRISON ISLAND OF IMRALI IN THE SEA OF MARMARA AFTER HE WAS SENTENCED TO DEATH AT A SPECIAL COURT ON CHARGES OF TREASON FOR LEADING A 15-YEAR FIGHT FOR A SEPARATE KURDISH STATE IN SOUTHEAST TURKEY. (PHOTO: AP, ABDURRAHMAN ANTAKYALI)
3 January 2013, Thursday /TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH REUTERS, İSTANBUL
Terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan stated that the era of armed struggle to achieve the political goals of the Kurds is over. He was speaking in a meeting with two Kurdish lawmakers, who made rare a visit to the PKK leader, being held on an island prison, on Thursday, signaling that Turkey is negotiating with the terrorist organization over ending a conflict that has killed tens of thousands over the past three decades.

On Thursday, pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Ayla Akat Ata and prominent Kurdish politician Ahmet Türk went to the Imralı island, where Öcalan has been held in virtual isolation since his capture in 1999, a Kurdish lawmaker said.

The meeting came days after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan's chief adviser said the government is discussing disarmament with the PKK leader.

Yıldıray Oğur, a Taraf daily reporter, claimed that the PKK will withdraw its armed groups, which were stationed in various mountains in southeast Turkey, to northern Iraq after the severe winter conditions ease in the spring. The PKK step ups its armed activities with the coming of spring every year.

The call of the PKK leader signals that this year would see a different pattern in a move to end the decades-old armed struggle, which has hijacked the political dimension of the Kurdish issue by excluding a viable political solution through democratic means.

Öcalan's continued influence was highlighted in November when his order, made after a visit from his brother, to end a 68-day hunger strike by PKK terrorists in prisons across Turkey was immediately obeyed.

The justice minister said then that there would be more talks with the PKK and Erdogan's chief adviser, Yalçin Akdoğan, said on Monday that Ankara sees Öcalan as its main interlocutor.

Talks with the PKK, which is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, would have been unthinkable to Turkish public opinion only a few years ago.

Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, who told reporters that his ministry gave the go-ahead to BDP deputies to talk with the PKK chief, said late on Thursday the process is to the benefit of the country.

However, Ergin warned, if the go-ahead is misused, no permission will be given for talks with Öcalan in the future, in an address to reporters at the 5th Annual Ambassadors' Conference held in Ankara on Thursday.

The meeting stirred a new round of debates over the nature of the talks with the PKK leader to solve the festering Kurdish question, which is seen as a litmus test for the maturity of Turkish democracy.

In remarks to NTV, Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrıkulu said he approves of such meetings if they serve the process positively.

Öcalan, who founded the organisation in 1974 to fight for an independent Kurdish state, is widely reviled by Turks who hold him responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people since the PKK took up arms in 1984.

But Erdoğan is under pressure to stem the violence, which has included bomb attacks in major cities as well as fighting in the mountainous southeast, particularly with presidential elections next year in which he is expected to stand.

Erdoğan's government has widened cultural and language rights for Kurds, who make up about 20 percent of Turkey's 75 million people, since taking power 10 years ago. But Kurdish politicians want more reforms including steps towards autonomy.

Fighting has continued despite the recent moves. On Monday, Turkish troops killed at least 10 PKK terrorists and seized weapons in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır. Another 46 PKK terrorists were killed in late December in a cross-border military operation into northern Iraq, Turkish media said.

 
 
COMMENTS
PKK is nothing but a terrorist who have killed thousands of Turkish and Kurdish people in the name of peace. Turkey has always stated live in peace and live forever in Turkey as Turkish citizens. I think I time for the Kurdish people to wake up and speak out loud against these terrorist but they are...
Anna Turk
That would really be nice. Hopefully they stop blowing up businessmen, teachers, students, workers etc... so they can actually bring some peace and development to the Kurdish people. Perhaps if the peace talks go astray the PM can start talking about the death penalty again like he did last time d...
Truth
The PKK is not terrorist. Terrorists are Turks who forbid Kurdish language, Turks who put people in prison for "terrorism" only for calling themselves KURDs. That is real terrorism. The PKK are freedom fighters and supported by the majority of the Kurds in Turkeys Kurdistan!
Kurdistan
Why do Two Kurdish lawmakers associate themselves with this Kurdish criminal terrorist? Shame to Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Ayla Akat Ata and prominent Kurdish politician Ahmet Türk
turkic voice
Click here to read all user comments
NATIONAL  Other Titles
Suspicions remain on 21st anniversary of President Özal's death
Interior Ministry seeks to expel 20 police chiefs
Former Adana prosecutor, wife file separate complaints
Media hate speech targets Turkey's Alevis most, report reveals
Take a stroll in these İstanbul neighborhoods
Ruling party wants Erdoğan presidential bid, say party officials
Turkey to hold further talks with Twitter
Film on young victims of Dersim massacre shown in Ankara
PKK kidnaps former mayor, three people in southeastern Turkey
Exemplary democrat Turgut Özal commemorated on 21st anniversary of death
Opposition deputy: CHP will apply to Constitutional Court over dershane law
Pro-gov't dailies report conflicting news on leaked audio on Syria
‘Nonexistent' Berkin Elvan video footage found
MHP leader calls for end to polarization
Prosecutor dismisses complaint against PM and ‘Alo Fatih'
İkizdere villagers march in protest of tree massacre
American citizen returns historic work to Turkey
Prosecutor drops probe into '94 airstrike that killed 38 villagers
PM avoids suing critics of corruption out of fear ‘truth may come out'
AK Party deputies pass MİT law article-by-article despite warnings
Ministerial bureaucrats purged after being profiled by MİT
Chief ombudsman laments low implementation of KDK recommendations
Purges in police force leading to higher crime rate
AK Party government punishing reassigned police officers
Commemorations for former President Özal, supporter of Turkish schools abroad
...
Bloggers