Legal steps on Kurdish peace bid 'a must' to disarm, PKK tells Turkish gov’t

Legal steps on Kurdish peace bid 'a must' to disarm, PKK tells Turkish gov’t

Okan Konuralp ANKARA
Legal steps on Kurdish peace bid a must to disarm, PKK tells Turkish gov’t

Locals in Turkey’s eastern province of Şanlıurfa march in protest near the borderline with Syria during a rally on Nov. 30. AFP Photo / İlyas Akengin

Eyes are now on the Turkish government’s moves in the Kurdish issue, after a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) team revealed remarks by the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in which he said further steps in the peace process "must be subject to a legal framework."

PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan shared on Nov. 29 a “Peace and Democratic Negotiations Process Draft” with the HDP team at the İmralı Island prison, where he is being held.

“They should not expect further steps from us under justifications such as ‘public order’ before this draft I hand to you comes into life," HDP officials quoted Öcalan as saying.

Öcalan reportedly met with a state team headed by intelligence chief Hakan Fidan on Nov. 27.

The state team told Öcalan that the framework was “arguable,” adding that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu would give the final response.  

However, Ankara is wary of some items, particularly in terms of the order of the actions, according to sources.

This sits at the heart of the debate, as Öcalan insists on a legal warranty before items of “sustaining public order, the withdrawal of the PKK militants from Turkey and the PKK laying down arms against Turkey.”

Sources also claimed Fidan would ask Öcalan to revise the plan.

The framework consists of three main titles: “Proposals for a solution, negotiation chapters and action plan,” the HDP stated on Nov. 30, adding that it will soon be introduced to the public for their views and contributions and will then be returned to Öcalan for his considerations.

An indirect reaction to the statement came from Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan, who is heavily involved in the Kurdish peace process.

“The train is now on the rails, but what will affect its speed? Steps to be taken, sincerity and honesty will determine the speed. There is the need to be sincere, honest, determinant and brave during such processes,” he said Nov. 30 at his Justice and Development Party (AKP) meeting in Kocaeli.

‘Period of non-action’

Öcalan described his former calls for a “period of non-action,” which refers to no armed activities by the PKK in Turkey, as a "mistake," adding that this was “self-criticism on behalf of the peoples of Turkey.” 

The PKK-linked Fırat News Agency quoted HDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder, a member of the team that visited Öcalan, as saying that “most other leaders look for excuses or confess. For Öcalan and his cadre, self-criticism is an important mechanism. If the government had understood Öcalan when he said ‘I won’t deceive and I won’t be deceived,’ more progress would have been made regarding peace and democracy.”