Öcalan makes Newroz call for PKK ceasefire and withdrawal

KT News and Comment:

Newroz celebrations

Newroz celebrations

As expected, a highly significant statement by the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan was released today, as millions of Kurds celebrate Newroz. Calling for a PKK ceasefire, Öcalan declared that: “It is time for arms to be silenced and ideas to speak. The bloodshed is going on, giving harm to all peoples in this territory. Politics will move ahead of weapons now”.

Öcalan also called for a withdrawal of PKK forces from within Turkey’s borders. “Now a door is opening to a phase where we are moving from armed resistance to an era of democratic political struggle…It is time for our armed powers to withdraw from the borders” he said. “This is a new beginning, not an end. It is the beginning of a new struggle for ethnic minorities. We all bear great responsibilities for the democratization of all peoples and cultures on these lands. I call on all other peoples in this territory to lead a life on the basis of freedom and equality”.

He declared that: “Turks and Kurds opened the parliament in 1920 together. We built the past together and now we need to maintain it together”.

Öcalan also called for a fundamentally new approach across the region to issues of nationality and self-determination. “Capitalist modernity-based policy of denial and destruction is contrary to today’s conditions”, he said. “I call for the construction of democratic modernity. It is time for unity and alliance, not conflict”.

“I call on all circles to side with democratic modernity which is sought by all peoples in the Middle East and Middle Asia”.

Öcalan’s message was greeted by a huge cheer when it was read out to the thousands celebrating Newroz in Diyarbakir, north Kurdistan. However, as one man in that crowd told a BBC reporter: “He has been making similar calls for peace since the 1990s”. When the PKK declared a unilateral ceasefire in 1993 – during Ozal’s presidency – the peace process proved futile. Although circumstances are different today –  and all right-minded people want a lasting peace – there has to date been a lack of positive movement from the Turkish state to match Öcalan’s concessions.

Copyright © 2013 Kurdistantribune.com

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