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Rudaw

Turkey

Ocalan: Greater Democracy is the Solution for Turkey’s Kurdish Issue

By RÛDAW 13/2/2014
The Kurdish MPs from Turkey. Photo: Rudaw
The Kurdish MPs from Turkey. Photo: Rudaw

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A general amnesty for fighters will not solve the Kurdish problem in Turkey, which must be resolved with greater democracy for the Kurds, said Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey.

His comments were aired by two Kurdish MPs in the Turkish parliament, Sirri Surreyya Onder and Leyla Zana, who recently visited Ocalan at his Imrali island prison.

“A general amnesty would not solve the Kurdish issue,” Ocalan was quoted as saying by Onder.  “What solves the Kurdish issue is the guarantee of democracy for the Kurds in Turkey," he reportedly said.

Onder reported that Ocalan’s idea was for the Turkish government to sign a democratic contract, believing this would become a foundation for resolving other issues. He also is calling for a watchdog to supervise the peace process and ensure it remains on track.

 “Ocalan has stated that there must be law and a legal framework to solve the Kurdish issue," Onder said. He added that Ocalan also favored the return to Turkey of PKK fighters at the Makhmur refugee camp in northern Iraq.

The two MPs said that Ocalan denounced the Turkish government for its reluctance to take bold steps toward addressing and resolving the Kurdish issue and the peace process.

Last March, from his jail cell Ocalan declared a ceasefire in the three-decade conflict with Ankara for greater Kurdish rights and ordered fighters to withdraw from Turkey into military camps in the Kurdistan Region. But the process has been largely stalled since then, with the PKK blaming Turkey for the impasse.

 Following their visit with Ocalan, the two Kurdish MPs arrived in the Kurdistan Region with a written message from Ocalan for President Massoud Barzani.

According to a statement posted on the Kurdistan Presidency website, "Mr. Ocalan expresses his support for the peace process in Turkey and asks for the cooperation of all sides for this process to succeed. He also underlines the importance of coordination among all Kurdish sides."

At a news conference in Erbil, Zana said, "I am the witness of Barzani's struggle for peace in the North (Turkish Kurdistan) and Barzani's and Ocalan's views are close to one another."

She also hailed the role of the ailing Iraqi president Jalal Talabani in assisting the Kurds in Turkey. "Talabani was a window for the Kurds towards the world," she added, applauding Talabani, who has been in Germany since a stroke more than a year ago.

The PKK and Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) have been traditional rivals. One of their main differences currently is over the declaration of autonomy in Syria’s Kurdish regions by the PKK-backed Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Barzani has rejected.

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Rojcan | 13/2/2014
Actually Sirri isn't even Kurdish, he comes from a Kurdish region but he even says "Kurds have been here for thousands of years, we only acouple hundred". But nevertheless he is a great friend/ally to the Kurds, and does more than what most other politans do and will do for Kurds. Also I can't wait for the day when a Layla Zana has a big role in the formation of Greater Kurdistan, she's a gem and what every Kurdish women should stride to be like.
Simko | 13/2/2014
We have to talk to Turkey with one voice.No more rivalries between Kurdish leaders.A big deal should be negotiated with Turkey,considering Kurdistan as one player.
mk | 13/2/2014
It is very stupid that BDP and PKK are too focused on a democratic Turkey. They almost never talk about education in Kurdish or general abuse of Kurdish symbols. I know many of us are assimilated by the Turks, but to that extent? When will they start thinking like a Kurd?
Muraz Adzhoev | 13/2/2014
"Mr. Ocalan expresses his support for the peace process in Turkey and asks for the cooperation of all sides for this process to succeed. He also underlines the importance of coordination among all Kurdish sides". Was it the main meaning and point of his message? Who is able to guess what's the content of the following words: "He also is calling for a watchdog to supervise the peace process and ensure it remains on track". His messaged call seems similar to a half empty glass of water.
Mustafa | 14/2/2014
As a Turk I predicted 15 years ago that the only way forward for the Kurdish Turks was an autonomous democratic region in eastern Turkey. It is now time for this inevitability to move forward. Older Turks who still have an outdated obsession with the east are dying off. The next generation of Turks and Kurds must live in peace as brothers, an autonomous Kurdish region in the east, however that manifests itself, is the only way forward. Us Turks must let go of this "giving land away" obsession now, grow up and move forward.
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