Next stage after withdrawal is leaving room for civil politics: BDP deputy
BDP Istanbul deputy Önder said the calendar for the withdrawal of PKK militants was not of chief importance. DHA photo
The stage following the withdrawal of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) militants from Turkey will deal with opening space in civil politics for Kurdish demands, the Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) Istanbul deputy, Sırrı Süreyya Önder, said April 24. "The next [stage] is democratization. We can say that this is the only stage of the process, because the third stage is summed up in just one paragraph: Laying down arms," Önder said during an interview aired on private broadcaster NTV.
Önder added that the stage in question was a priority for the PKK's jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan. "You say to lay down arms but these people did not take up arms for an adventure in the first place. So you have to look to the conditions of doing civil politics in Turkey," he said.
Önder also said the calendar for the withdrawal of PKK militants was not of chief importance. "The region is very mountainous. Murat Karayılan [the PKK's military leader in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq] said that if the militants were to run, [the withdrawal] would last three months. As there is a very clear will for withdrawal, I don't think that the Turkish state would consider the calendar as that important," he said.
The BDP deputy, who has taken part in several parliamentary delegations to the PKK's jailed leader, also said nothing had been discussed regarding Öcalan's future at the end of the process. Responding to concerns that Öcalan might be released in return for his role during the peace process, Önder said he and another deputy had openly asked questions about his situation. "He dismissed [them] both times, saying that the [matter in] question was making Turkey freer," he said.