BDP hopeful of end to clashes with PKK

BDP hopeful of end to clashes with PKK

BDP hopeful of end to clashes with PKK

There was brief tension between a PKK group and a base, Demirtaş says. DAILY NEWS photo

Despite downplaying the gravity of a skirmish between the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş still described the skirmish as a “scary case,” which he hopes will not be repeated.

“An incident like a clash did not take place. Brief tension was experienced between groups crossing [the border] and the military base,” Demirtaş said, in response to reporters’ questions on June 4.

He said a written statement about the incident, released by the TSK on June 3, did not suggest that the incident could negatively affect the ongoing withdrawal of PKK militants from Turkish territory. The withdrawal is a critical stage of a resolution process aimed at ending the three-decade long conflict between the Turkish security forces and the PKK.

One sergeant injured

A group of PKK militants fired at the Turkish Karaçalı military base on June 3, between 12:05 and 12:30 a.m., in the southeastern province of Şırnak near the Turkish-Iraqi border, the TSK had announced. A gendarmerie specialist sergeant was slightly injured, after fire ricocheted off stones on the ground. The statement added that air reconnaissance operations had been conducted in the area in self-defense.
Demirtaş said it was understood that the PKK militants did not aim to give harm to the withdrawal process.

“Although it was only minor, it was a scary case for everybody. I hope it will not happen anymore. Now, democratic legal reforms should be discussed,” he added.

Earlier in the day, in response to a question on the incident, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç stated at a press conference that the resolution process was proceeding “healthily.”

“Of course, there are groups who would like to stage armed activities; entrances and exits; and some operations that might harm Turkey. Not only our General Staff, but all of our law-enforcement officers are aware of their own duties,” Arınç said.

PKK guerrillas began leaving Turkish territory in small groups nearly a month ago, in a bid to end a conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people in almost 30 years of fighting. They are withdrawing to Iraqi Kurdistan, where several thousand of their fighters are based, under a plan agreed by jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and Turkish officials.

The next parliamentary delegation visit to Öcalan might take place this week, Demirtaş said in response to a question, citing information received from the Justice Ministry.