Jailed PKK leader Öcalan to call for cease-fire: Reports
Abdullah Öcalan. Hürriyet Photo
Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), will call for a cease-fire at Nevruz on March 21 in the first step of a four-pronged strategy, according to daily Radikal.
Öcalan delivered three letters to a Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) delegation that visited him on İmralı island on Feb. 23 as part of the search for a solution to the Kurdish issue, daily Hürriyet reported. The PKK leader reportedly wants a response to the letters within 10 days.
The three letters outlining the details of a road map to peace were addressed to the BDP, the PKK and the PKK’s wings in Europe. After receiving responses, Öcalan will conduct another meeting, after which his road map could be officially released to the public.
As part of the possible road map, Öcalan is reportedly set to issue a clear call for a cease-fire from the PKK on the grounds that subsequent steps cannot be made without a truce, Radikal reported. Second, the PKK will declare that it will withdraw its 4,000 Turkey-based militants from the country. The withdrawal will start after Turkey guarantees that no operations will be launched against the militants.
After the cease-fire set to begin at Nevruz – a spring festival for many people in the Middle East that is of crucial importance to Kurds – Öcalan will call on the PKK to withdraw between May and June.
If these two steps are fulfilled, negotiations could then begin with the PKK to lay down its arms. The third step would also be contingent on the four parliamentary parties reaching a consensus on three critical issues that will have a significant influence on the peace talks. One of them is the definition of a neutral citizenship, namely, “a citizen of the Turkish Republic,” which will not define anyone as Turkish or Kurdish. Another significant issue is to remove all the obstacles on education in citizens’ mother tongues. Third, Turkey needs to strengthen local administrations by removing its reservations on the Council of Europe’s European Charter of Local Self-Government.
After a consensus on a new Constitution is declared, the PKK could lay down its weapons as part of its fourth step.