Abdülkadir Aygan, who worked for the illegal gendarmerie unit known as JİTEM after spending years with the PKK, told Today’s Zaman in a phone interview from his home in Sweden, where he currently enjoys political asylum, that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) should be very careful and not trust the PKK’s one-sided promise to stage no attacks until Sept. 20. Aygan worked his way up the PKK hierarchy during his years with the terrorist group.
He says he was able to do that because he is related to Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK’s jailed leader. Aygan, who knows the structure and strategy of the group very well, says the feasibility of a cease-fire is zero. He said the group’s attempt to have the Turkish state see it as a valid counterpart was the real cause behind the announcement of the unilateral cease-fire.
The former PKK member says the terrorist group will continue its attacks in what he called a “passive defense process.” He said the PKK uses such situations to stage sensational attacks such as the 33 privates incident in 1993, when 33 Turkish soldiers were brutally killed by the PKK in Bingöl. He also said the PKK is extremely uneasy about serious civilian Kurdish opposition emerging in the past few years in the East and Southeast and that it is impossible for the group to interrupt its terrorist attacks at this time.
“It is obvious that they have no intention of keeping their promise of not attacking because they imposed conditions. They will say their conditions were not met and that they therefore had to break the cease-fire. Although the PKK does not show it, it is filled with fear.” He said the new Kurdish opposition, which defends democratic and unarmed resistance with strong public backing, makes the PKK very nervous. “The PKK will do something to continue its influence in the region and silence voices speaking out against it. It will do anything to prove to the world that it is the only valid representative of Kurds. It is worried that it might lose its power,” he said.
Aygan also noted that the government should support the nascent civilian Kurdish movement emerging against the PKK by bringing Kurdish intellectuals residing abroad back to Turkey. Aygan said more alternatives should be offered to Kurdish parties outside the PKK’s line to allow them to better express themselves. “This would most certainly hurt Öcalan, who is an arrogant dictator. They will be most upset by this development, but the grass roots are no louder. Civilian society organizations and the art community are turning against them. This is an opportunity that should be used wisely,” he added.
Terrorism specialist Tüncer Günay also agrees, warning against sensational attacks by the PKK in the next few weeks. “If you ask me, the actual feasibility of the organization’s cease-fire is tied to a thin thread because it is a process that is built on very weak ground. The group is inside structures that profit from violence and terrorism, and these will be upset. The PKK is no longer a homogenous mass. There are central committee members and high-ranking military commanders that have different spheres of influence in different areas.” He said these different groups have made it very difficult for the PKK to stand by its decision to not carry out any attacks for much longer.