Analysis:'US holds the key to PKK surrender'

Lale Sariibrahimoglu, the experienced columnist of the Today's Zaman, in the news analysis today focuses on the PKK truth.

Analysis:'US holds the key to PKK surrender'


World Bulletin / News Center

In the news analysis Mrs.Sariibrahimoglu explains the PKK truth in the frame of Washington - Ankara relations.

Here is the complete news analysis of the experienced columnist:

"Some Turkish and Western analysts are stressing the necessity for cooperation between Ankara and Washington in informing PKK members of Turkish preparations to introduce an amnesty law.According to news reports from late October, the Turkish military has started dropping leaflets in the southeastern regions of Turkey, urging PKK militants to surrender and return home.

However, Western diplomats stress that Turkey needs to publish advertisements in the Turkish media to enable more PKK terrorists to be informed about the preparations in Turkey to pardon some of them under a possible reform attempt of the existing Law 211. Secondly, said the same sources, in order to make the law effective, Turkey could seek help from the US in Iraq in dropping leaflets over areas where the PKK is hiding to ensure that more militants are aware of Turkish attempts to pardon them.

Turkey is considering revising a law that will allow PKK militants who are not involved in lethal operations to avoid punishment in an attempt to encourage them to halt fighting and return home, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again said on Wednesday. "We will do whatever is necessary within the legal framework. Article 221 is still in force. We could make the law more flexible, we could revise it," he told reporters in Ankara.

"With a new initiative we can minimize the number of people going to the mountains [and joining the PKK]; we can eradicate that. Then we can encourage people to come down from the mountains," he added.

An amnesty law adopted in 2003 under Article 221 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) failed to yield a result in encouraging PKK terrorists to return home. The law guaranteed no punishment for militants who have not been involved in attacks and who will provide information on the organization. If one of the reasons for the failure of a plan in 2003 was due to the absence of sufficient publicity of the amnesty law, the other has been insufficient attempts to address the social, economic and political problems of the Southeast to minimize PKK influence in the region.

"But even efforts to pardon militants who are not involved in lethal activities would be better than nothing if it is well administered and well publicized. Families of militants will also inform their sons and daughters about preparations for a kind of amnesty. In addition, a kind of amnesty will mean much to the people of the Southeast," said a Western military analyst.

For the success of an amnesty law, it is also important that judges are trained, said the same analyst. "For example, judges should be able to accept a militant's statement once he surrenders that he is not involved in any armed campaign because it is sometimes very hard to prove otherwise. It is also important that once those militants are pardoned, they should be given jobs and should be allowed to have cosmetic surgery if necessary. I remember back in 1997 that around 700 PKK militants surrendered as the amnesty was well administered."

Ironically, as a Turkish intelligence official told Today's Zaman, the number of people who surrendered in 1997 were 900 and only 700 were found to be PKK militants, while the remaining 200 were in fact Turks posing as PKK terrorists with the hope that they could also find jobs.

Minister of Defense Vecdi Gönül, meanwhile, recalled during a speech made in Parliament on Tuesday that eight laws under various names have been adopted since 1985 to pardon PKK terrorists, while at the same time ruling out amnesty for PKK members, including its senior leadership, whose extradition Turkey has been seeking from Iraq.

'Government doing the right thing'

According to Ankara-based Western diplomatic sources, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has been doing the right thing by resorting to both diplomatic and political means in resolving the PKK issue instead of using military means alone.

Prime Minister Erdoğan, accompanied by Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun, received assurances from US President George W. Bush during their meeting on Nov. 5 in the Oval Office for the supply of real-time intelligence to crack down on PKK terrorists.

"Erdoğan and Saygun met with Bush to tell him that Turkey is determined to enter northern Iraq regardless of US cooperation. Bush pledged military cooperation through the supply of actionable intelligence. Such a pledge, made by the US president, was critically important," said a Western diplomat.

As Turkish politics focuses on a controversial debate over pardoning some of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists hiding mainly in camps located in northern Iraq.

Turkey has been missing the political aspect of both the PKK and the Kurdish problem while agreeing on cooperation with the US through intelligence sharing, i.e., the military aspect.

But since that meeting with Bush, Erdoğan has pursued a policy to resolve the PKK problem through diplomatic means and through a political solution instead of crossing into northern Iraq.

"If Erdoğan makes further progress in calming public fury over the PKK and in convincing Iraqi Kurdish leaders to getting rid of the PKK in northern Iraq, coupled with a limited amnesty, he will succeed in resolving the issue in a couple of years. He needs the votes of Turkey's Kurds in the March 2009 local elections, too," asserted a Western diplomat.

Meanwhile, unlike earlier press reports quoting a Turkish General Staff statement posted on its Web site on Dec. 1, the Turkish military has opened artillery fire from Turkish territory aimed at PKK terrorists in northern Iraq and thus did not enter the region, said a senior Turkish intelligence source. "

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Aralık 2007, 08:44