Militants' withdrawal will end by autumn: Senior PKK leader
Karayılan (C) had announced that the withdrawal of militants from Turkish soil was set to start on May 8 during the press conference on April 26. DHA photoThe outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) withdrawal from Turkey will end by autumn at the earliest, senior militant leader Murat Karayılan told a group of Turkish journalists, Turkish media reported on April 27. Karayılan, who had announced that the withdrawal of militants from Turkish soil was set to start on May 8 in a press conference two days earlier, added that the PKK's jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan, wanted the pullout to be completed sooner.
"We have executives that are studying the technical dimensions of the withdrawal. We are looking into the issue. We will have more discussions," he said without ruling out the possibility. Karayılan explained the choice of May 8 for the start of the withdrawal saying that the organization needed 10-15 days of preparations before conducting the process. He also said the six points referred to during the discussions were not conditions and that the withdrawal was to be completed "unconditionally,"
A day earlier - though most probably after the interviews were made - the chief adviser to the Turkish prime minister, Yalçın Akdoğan, had criticized Karayılan for suggesting that normalization was to come before the laying down of arms. "In my opinion, Karayılan has misunderstood that part of the process," Akdoğan said.
Direct contact with Öcalan 'necessary'
Karayılan also urged the government officials to let a delegation from PKK headquarters visit Öcalan on İmralı island. He said direct communication with the PKK's jailed leader was "necessary." "To convince all the militants and overcome the difficulties, direct talks with Öcalan would be more of a problem solver. Such a meeting at the middle or the end [of the process] would facilitate [the task]," he said.
Karayılan also noted that they saw as necessary a parliamentary decision to ensure the security of the PKK's militants during the pullout. "It would have also proved the determination and seriousness of Parliament in resolving this issue. But the state says they can't take such decisions now. Öcalan is in favor of not pushing [the Turkish state] much and we agree."
Karayılan insisted that he was not thinking about his personal plans after the end of the process. "When the resolution happens, we will find something," he said.
As the PKK announced the day of the start of the withdrawal, key Turkish government officials gave confident reactions, saying that everything was going according to the plan.