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Rudaw

Turkey

PKK’s New Commander Issues Ultimatum to Ankara

By Rudaw 27/8/2013
“As the PKK, we cannot continue the peace process if the government does not take serious steps by September 1,” said Cemil Bayik, who was recently elected the group’s new commander, replacing Murat Karayilan.
“As the PKK, we cannot continue the peace process if the government does not take serious steps by September 1,” said Cemil Bayik, who was recently elected the group’s new commander, replacing Murat Karayilan.

 

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A historic peace process between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) may be on the rocks, with the separatist group’s new commander threatening to stop reconciliation unless it sees concrete results, such as the freeing of Kurdish prisoners.

“As the PKK, we cannot continue the peace process if the government does not take serious steps by September 1,” said Cemil Bayik, who was recently elected the group’s new commander, replacing Murat Karayilan.

“If Turkey wants peace, then it should take the necessary steps,” Bayik told reporters at the group’s Qandil mountain base in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region.

The PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, negotiated the current peace process, after which the group’s outlawed guerrillas in Turkey began withdrawing to Qandil in May. 

In the meantime, Ankara set up a nationwide Council of Wise Men to help rehabilitate the Kurds -- who make about 23 million of the country’s 76 million population and have been severely suppressed and ethnically unrecognized by successive Turkish governments -- into social acceptance.

But the process began to falter during the PKK withdrawal, with the PKK now saying it has pulled out most fighters, and Ankara insisting that only about 15 percent have left while thousands of new members have joined up.

“We will stop the withdrawal of our guerillas and send back the ones that already withdrew,” Bayik warned. “If Turkey rejects peace and desires war, then the PKK has the right to defend itself. We are ready for everything,” he vowed.

The PKK sees the withdrawal of guerrillas as the first phase of the peace process, and the release of its prisoners in Turkish jails as the second.

“The PKK has carried out its part of the peace process and withdrew its guerillas in the first phase and prevented conflicts and killings, but the Turkish government has not taken any steps,” Bayik accused. “The second phase must start on September 1.”

“Not a single prisoner has been freed yet while the military operations are continuous. The drones and military jets are constantly flying and new military bases are being built in the Kurdish regions,” Bayik said.

“Their policies that aim to change the Kurdish geography are still in action. They do not listen to the report presented by the Council of Wise Men and it still has not reached the parliament,” he added.

Celalettin Celal, a member of the Council of Wise Men, told reporters at the same news conference that Bayik’s comments did not mean the PKK would restart its armed conflict against the Turkish government.

If the peace process reached a complete deadlock, we will not resort to military action, but will cease the withdrawal of our guerillas and send back those who already withdrew,” Turkey’s Taraf newspaper quoted him as saying.

“We will resort to all forms of civil struggle and disobedience and force the government to take action,” he explained, echoing previous statements by Bayik.

Bayik attacked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying his Justice and Development Party (AKP) was not serious about resolving the country’s decades-old Kurdish conflict.

“Erdogan wants to show to the people that they want peace while the PKK is the obstacle,” Bayik said.

Since 1993, there have been many ceasefires between the PKK and the Turkish state, but each one has broken down. 

But after the arrest of Ocalan in 1999, the Kurdish issue in Turkey took a different turn. The imprisoned leader told followers in a March 21 message for the Kurdish New Year that the struggle was not ending, but instead moving to the political arena.

The AKP recently sent a package of reforms to the Turkish parliament, but the PKK said they did not meet its expectations and were not sufficient for the success of the peace process.

People close to the Turkish government denied that the peace process was in danger of shattering.

“We see no indications that the peace process is heading towards a deadlock. Those who claim that, wish it to be so, but it will not happen,” said Ragib Ansaroglu, Kurdish MP and member of the AKP.

“It is true that the PKK and the Turkish government are exchanging accusations, but the peace process is ongoing and preparations are made to make it progress,” he said.

Serdar Bulent Yilmaz, president of The Organization of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed People (Mazlumder) in Diyarbakir, said that statements by PKK leaders have been opposed to the peace process from the very outset.

“These statements harm the peace process and the will to make it succeed. They rob the people of their hope in the process. They eliminate the trust factor which is the most important part of the process,” he said.

“Ocalan has acted responsibly towards the process. The PKK claims that the demands of its internal organizations are the same as those of the Kurdish people, but the Kurdish people have faith in the peace process,” according to Yilmaz.

Comments

 
Kurdistan Independence Movement | 28/8/2013
PKK do not waste any more time. Don't wait or depend on no side. The entire world is busy with Syrian crisis and until its finalized, there will be no good news for you. Even if Assad is toppled today, it will take at least 3years to stabilize and slightly democratize Syria.Take advantage of the opportunity. Turkey is buying time, as well. Do something for Kurds in North. None of the neighboring countries are trustworthy and truly care about Kurdish rights.They are all pursing their own agendas.
Zap DOSKI | 28/8/2013
The justice, liberty, human rights... etc, are some words that have never existed in Turkish dictionary. The language of dialogue is not something Turkey aims to looking forward to it, and bring to an end the long-term conflict that caused the life of thousands. That being said. there is only one option left on the table which is the language of violence. I know, this is not what anyone would have wished, but that's the only alternative that someone can squeeze the authorities and push them towards taking better stand solve this damn issue. "after which the group’s outlawed guerrillas in Turkey began withdrawing to Qandil in May" P.S. With due of respect and a usage of flawless media language by rudaw's group, I find it completely unnecessary using the word 'Outlawed' which fells off-context. The PKK might have been labeled as 'the outlawed-group' in the eyes of turkish government, but we can break that will by fining our media streams to better our cause worldwide.
66Mahmoud | 28/8/2013
Turkey is not serious with its approach to solve the Kurdish problem, they are trying to gain some time in front of Syrian and interior problems, under today’s circumstances Turkey may make some gestures but nothing permanent, Kurds should unite and be ready for any opportunity that may arise.
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