Exile may be option if PKK lays down arms, Turkish PM Erdoğan says
AA photoWhile traveling from Pakistan to Turkey on an official visit Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Party (PKK) to put away their guns.
“A considerable majority of the organization’s members are in Kandil [Mountains] and Makhmour. We will take into account any positive development,” Erdoğan said. “They (PKK militants) are obstructing the liberty of education in the region by organizing attacks on the schools.”
Journalists questioned the prime minister on the possibility that the PKK's imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan, who played a role in bringing recent mass hunger strikes to an end, could also play a role in instigating a probable ceasefire between the PKK and Turkish Armed Forces. Hunger strikes were launched by hundreds of prisoners and many civilian and diplomatic supporters Sept. 12 to demand an end to Öcalan’s isolation. Öcalan's lawyers have not been allowed onto the island where he is being held in jail for the past 15 months. Protesters also demanded an end to restrictions on the use of mother tongues - namely, Kurdish - in court and in education. The decision for an end to the strike came after a call from Öcalan to hunger strikers in prisons across the country on Nov. 17.
“The solution to the problem of terrorism cannot be achieved by simply quieting the gunshots, but by leaving the guns behind.” Erdoğan said.
“Turkey played an important role in Israel-Hamas ceasefire, similar to Egypt and Qatar,” Erdoğan said, adding that the “United States should take into account our sensibilities. We are concerned about the disagreement between the central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq.”
“We expect a more just approach from the U.S. in President Barack Obama’s second term.” he said.
“I might make a sudden decision at an unexpected moment to visit Gaza,” Erdoğan said.
Regarding the Patriot missiles, Erdoğan said he disapproved of Russia's opposition against the deployment of missiles and stressed that the issue did not concern Russia.
Erdoğan highlighted his belief that conflict in Syria was an issue the region should work to resolve without outside influence. “The Muslim world should solve this problem on its own. I strongly support the Pakistani and Indonesian initiatives to meet with [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad,” Erdoğan said.