PKK to heed disarmament call in Turkey

Nizamettin Tas says terrorist group will heed jailed PKK leader Ocalan's call to lay down weapons, a major point in ongoing peace talks of more than two years.

PKK to heed disarmament call in Turkey

World Bulletin / News Desk

The PKK will end its armed struggle in Turkey barring serious provocations which could derail the solution process, a former leader of the terrorist group said Friday.

"Unless there are serious provocations which could change the agenda completely, the PKK leadership will declare at the upcoming congress that they are ending their armed struggle in Turkey, and laying down their weapons in response to Ocalan's call," Nizamettin Tas told the Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview in the capital of the Iraqi Kurdish region.

Sirri Sureyya Onder, a deputy of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party, or HDP, announced last Saturday that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, was invited by its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan to meet in the spring to reach common ground on ending the more than 30-year conflict.

The call for disarmament came after a meeting between HDP lawmakers and government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan, marking a major point in the so-called solution process, referring to the government initiative launched in 2013 aimed at ending the decades-old conflict with the terrorist group.

"PKK's leaders have already declared that they embrace Ocalan's call. The congress will definitely happen," Tas said, adding that suspending, postponing or rejecting the call was out of the question as "there is no force in Qandil which would oppose Ocalan's decision."

Mount Qandil is a region known to be the headquarters of the PKK, which is listed by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union as a terrorist organization.

Its militants have fought for an independent Kurdish state since 1984, and the bloody insurgency has claimed around 36,000 lives in Turkey.

  PKK to lay down weapons in Turkey only

Tas said that the decision to lay down weapons applies to Turkey only, and the group would not dissolve its guerilla forces, and stop fighting in other territories.

"PKK and PYD are already fighting in Rojava (a Kurdish-majority area in northeast Syria). They might perhaps use their guerilla forces against Iran too. So the decision concerns ending the fight in Turkey only. They would keep their guerilla forces active in the other three parts of Kurdistan," he said.

PYD is the Syria-based Kurdish Democratic Union Party, which Turkey considers to be an offshoot of the PKK.


- "All of Kurdish community must be involved in solution process" 

Tas said that all related parties should be involved in the solution process.

"If the PKK attempts to solve the Kurdish issue in Turkey on its own, it would be a seizure of authority, creating a problematic situation where the Kurds are not involved, and two forces decide on them. So if the PKK ends its armed struggle, and draws its guerilla forces out of Turkey, the whole Kurdish community should be involved in the upcoming process," he said.

  "No more illegal organizations like PKK"

Tas said that the PKK has to go to the congress and "reform itself."

"Actually, we wanted to do this 11 years ago. There is no need for illegal organizations in Turkey such as the PKK. They already have a political party," he said, referring to the HDP.

"There will be no more such illegal organizations, or any other groups set up for different purposes. The PKK aims for a totally democratic and political struggle. The PKK is definitely over. Last week's statement is a de facto declaration (of this fact). There is no turning back," he said.

Tas also said that the HDP had the potential to get 15 percent of the votes in the June elections, but warned the party "may not exceed the threshold unless it adopts a democratic mentality, and follows a policy that embraces everybody."

"On the other hand, if they can create a democratic environment where everybody could reflect their own colors and express their will, then they could meet and exceed the threshold," he said. 

Under the current system, political parties in Turkey must have at least 10 percent of votes nationwide to gain parliamentary representation, the highest such threshold in Europe.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party is one of the parties expected to come close to the 10 percent threshold in the June elections. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Mart 2015, 14:49