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POLITICS > ‘De facto’ PKK truce holds as PM vows to go till end

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The ruling AKP and the BDP say they are both determined in the ongoing process of finding a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish issue. The BDP has also received a letter from the jailed PKK leader Öcalan

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Turksih PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses his party’s parliamentary group during an enthusiastic meeting that was frequently interrupted by chants. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turksih PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addresses his party’s parliamentary group during an enthusiastic meeting that was frequently interrupted by chants. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Göksel Bozkurt Göksel Bozkurt goksel.bozkurt@hurriyet.com.tr

Parties involved in the ongoing resolution process expressed their determination for eventually finding a peaceful resolution to Turkey’s decades-old conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says he would even drink hemlock poison if it meant achieving peace.

“If our Justice Ministry is allowing BDP [Peace and Democracy Party] deputies to İmralı as part of the resolution process, the only reason is [to see] whether a step could be taken [toward a solution]; it was this,” Erdoğan said on Feb. 26 in an address to his party’s parliamentary group, reiterating that he was ready to even “drink hemlock poison” if it would pave the way for serenity in the country.

BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, meanwhile, said that the jailed leader of the outlawed PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, who recently met with three BDP deputies, believes that the recent process will beget an eventual resolution to the Kurdish issue. “Neither we nor the state can abandon that process,” Demirtaş quoted Öcalan as saying in a letter he said they received from Öcalan the morning of Feb. 26. The letter was reportedly sent through a courier by the National Intelligence Service (MİT). 

“There’s a certain determination and desire this time. Parties have focused on the target. They don’t regard the process as hanging on by a thread. We are making persistent efforts in order for that process not to fail,” Demirtaş told a group of reporters on Feb. 26. When asked whether the PKK could declare a ceasefire on March 21, at Nevruz – a spring festival for many people in the Middle East that is of crucial importance to Kurds – Demirtaş said that there’s a de facto ceasefire, indicating that the PKK is not carrying out armed action and the army is not conducting considerable military operations against the PKK. He added that the de facto ceasefire can become official after the process makes progress. Withdrawal of PKK militants will become definite after discussions between Öcalan and Kandil, the mountain where the PKK’s headquarters and training camps are based, according to Demirtaş.

One letter, three addresses

Demirtaş, who had yet to read the whole letter when speaking to reporters, said that the handwritten letter by Öcalan arrived at the BDP’s headquarters in a white, unsealed and unmarked envelope. Öcalan wrote one letter, with three addressees on separate cover letters: the BDP, Kandil and the European wing of the PKK. The BDP Party Assembly gathered and discussed Öcalan’s letter and the BDP’s Central Executive Board will respond to Öcalan’s letter before deciding whether or not to reveal its content. According to sources, Öcalan lays out certain conditions for the PKK’s disarmament in his letter. Certain legal assurances should be provided for the PKK’s withdrawal from Turkey and the withdrawal can be completed by the end of August, Öcalan was quoted by sources as saying. 

For disarmament of the PKK, according to Öcalan, Turkey needs to strengthen local administrations by removing its reservations on the Council of Europe’s European Charter of Local Self-Government. The definition of a neutral citizenship, which will not define anyone as Turkish or Kurdish and establishment of a truth commission in Parliament to examine rights violations, are required conditions for a resolution, Öcalan reportedly wrote. Demirtaş said that Öcalan expects a response to his letter within two weeks.

Also on Feb. 26, the National Security Council (MGK), which brings together the country’s top civilian and military leaders, held a regular bimonthly meeting during which the ongoing process was likely to be discussed at length.

February/27/2013

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Turk Uzan

2/27/2013 7:29:00 PM

Doctor Osmanov, NO ONE in the CHP said that Turks are better than Kurds, what was said is " The TURKISH NATION, can't be compared to the Kurdish people" Turkish nation as in, Turk, Kurd, Arab, Cerkez, Alevi, Sunni, Greek, Armenian, Gypsy, and ANY other person of "any" race or religion who is in possession of Turkish citizenship. I guess basic principles like these are to hard for you to grasp. This is and "should be" the same in any nation, the nation is always above "a single race:" inc TURK

Turk Uzan

2/27/2013 7:24:26 PM

@ Doctor Osmanov, if you are unable to grasp the fact that Turk/Turkish is the word used to describe a Turkish citizen aka Turkish nationality that's your problem. It says more over you than it says over the state. Does it sting? Does it hurt? Being a "TURKISH" citizen. You live in Turkey? Then know your place, if you have a Turkish passport you are a TURK by nationality. No one is telling you that you are Racially Turkish, you can be Zimbabwian for all I care.

Brit in Turkey

2/27/2013 6:36:06 PM

Doctor Osmanov: In Britain, you may be English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish but you are still British. In America you may be Texan, Californian...., but are still American. So what is your problem? Get over the difference between being a Turkish Citizen (which includes many from Europe and America) and being a Turk or Kurd by birth.

Doctor Osmanov

2/27/2013 3:46:42 PM

What Öcalan says is that no matter if you are Kurd or Turk you should be seen as a citizen not as a Turk or Kurd. I find this reasonable. Why should we be defined by the state as Turkish citizens in Turkey when we are not Turks? Why do you have the need for us Kurds being called as Turks? I would rather prefer being called a citizen in the Turkish Republic. There are plans from PKK to call out for truce in 21 or march. So I have marked your words. See how states in US works and Sweden for Samer.

Doctor Osmanov

2/27/2013 3:10:59 PM

Agreed with Nadiri Basaran. You may dislike the man but to wish for someones death is never right. These news made my day and I hope that peace will be achieved after serious dialogue between AKP and BDP. I wouldn't mind if CHP where in the dialogue to have a huge majority of Kurds and Turks behind the peace process. But I don't like the fact that some members in CHP have said that Turks are "better" than Kurds. CHP is supposed to be a "socialistic" party but it has some tendecies of fascism.

Turk Uzan

2/27/2013 2:52:09 PM

" Turkey needs to strengthen local administrations by removing its reservations on the Council of Europe’s European Charter of Local Self-Government. The definition of a neutral citizenship" This should NEVER be allowed, or happen. They are in essence asking to change the name word we use for our nationality (Turkish, aka we may as well give the country a new name) and for local governments. Unreasonable, ridiculous requests. The PKK WILL attack as soon as it's spring, mark my words

Nadiri Başaran

2/27/2013 11:49:45 AM

I'm surprised that Socialist TRK's comment has been approved! Surely wishing the death of anyone is unacceptable even for the HDN

Socialist TRK

2/27/2013 11:15:15 AM

Please just drink the poison
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