New Öcalan statement on PKK withdrawal expected soon

KT News:

Abdullah Öcalan

Abdullah Öcalan

Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed PKK leader, met two BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) leaders this weekend and told them that he will very soon issue a letter ‘to the people of Turkey’ about the peace process.

At a press conference at the BDP Istanbul office, deputies Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Pervin Buldan conveyed a short statement from Öcalan.  Addressed to “Dear esteemed people of Turkey” it said:

“The process in search of peace and a democratic solution we are going through is taking into account all sensitivities. I am working hard to make sure that the non-conflict environment we are reaching can become permanent and the process of withdrawal can begin. I can say that we have reached a promising point at present. I will share the work we have been carrying out in this respect with the people of Turkey in a few days”.

This latest development follows reports of concerns expressed by PKK military leaders and rank-and-file fighters at the prospect of their withdrawing forces and disarming before any significant concessions have been made by the Turkish state.

In an interview with the New York Times last week, PKK military leader Murat Karayılan announced that: “Our guerrillas cannot give up their arms … It is the last issue, something to discuss as a last issue to this process.”

Murat Karayılan

Murat Karayılan

“We want to solve our problems through peace and dialogue,” said Karayılan. “That is what we believe.” But, he added, “if they do not accept Kurds as equal citizens, this problem cannot be solved.”

Karayılan told the reporter that he hoped to return to Turkey to participate in a political process and advance Kurdish rights.

“After we put violence aside, then a democratic society has to be formed,” said Karayılan, adding that the alternative was “a great war”.

Abdullah Öcalan’s next statement, expected later this week, will no doubt be closely scrutinised by all parties to the embryonic peace process.

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