Will the PKK lay down arms?
CEVDET AŞKINThe echoes of Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay’s responses to questions from Hande Fırat on CNN Türk aired last Friday still continue. Atalay’s sentences gave clues related to Ankara’s plans regarding the Kurdish issue and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). From Atalay’s words, it is understood that the basic parameter for Ankara to rule out the PKK as a problem is considered Arbil. Because Atalay has emphasized that if the Regional Kurdish Administration desires to carry its relations with Turkey to a further position than today, then it has to provide that the PKK pulled out of northern Iraq.
Atalay, by saying, “now, it is a different period,” has implied that in an Iraq that is heading toward segmentation the Regional Kurdish Administration has to direct the PKK issue on the path to a solution before it declares independence. In other words, it is understood that there are calculations that the conjuncture is in favor of Ankara and that for the economic survival of Arbil, it will have to sell its oil to Turkey.
Atalay has expressed that negotiations are being held for the organization to lay down arms; he also implied that these negotiations were carried out between Kandil and Arbil. Atalay also announced that work was ongoing in Turkey to improve pluralist structure and that the results would be announced as of end of June. Thus, he makes us think that Ankara is trying to build a platform that will enable Arbil to pressure the PKK to silence arms. Despite this, Atalay is babbling about the critical topic of instruction in mother tongue and especially refrains from a clear expression.
Under these circumstances, will it be an item on the agenda that the PKK lays down arms in the short term?
It can easily be deduced that the response will be negative given that the organization has indexed laying down of arms to the solution of the Kurdish issue in Turkey and that this solution involves a constitutional dimension. Even in the case of Arbil pulling the trigger against them, again the PKK will not easily leave their “Media Defense Areas” in northern Iraq, in their own words. Arbil’s narrowing down of the PKK’s facilities except for the military orientation will squeeze Kandil but will not cause it to lay down arms. The organization, at the most, would stand clear of major attacks along the border line to ease pressure from Arbil.
Consequently, it doesn’t take a clairvoyant to see that the state of conflict will continue in the coming months in a conflict between an organization that feels the need to demonstrate all its might so that the framework of the solution is formulated closest to its own line at a time when Turkey’s new constitution is being drafted and Ankara, which gives signals for a solution but cannot clarify its content.
Cevdet Aşkın is the news editor of daily Radikal. This article originally appeared on June 11 on the paper’s Internet site.
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