No ceasefire until meeting with PKK’s jailed leader allowed: Bayık

No ceasefire until meeting with PKK’s jailed leader allowed: Bayık

DİYARBAKIR – Doğan News Agency
No ceasefire until meeting with PKK’s jailed leader allowed: Bayık

DHA Photo

A permanent ceasefire from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) cannot be on the table until meetings with the group’s imprisoned leader are permitted by Ankara, a senior PKK leader has said. 

“No one can speak of a ceasefire or the peace process until the freedom of leader Apo [jailed PKK head Abdullah Öcalan] and free negotiation conditions are created,” said Cemil Bayık, in an interview published in the Kurdish-language newspaper Azadiya Welat. 

“No one should make a fool of the Kurdish nation. The isolation in İmralı is a cause of war in itself,” added Bayık, who is the co-chair of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), a supra organization that includes the PKK and is based in the PKK headquarters in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq.

İmralı is a byword for Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence on the island of İmralı in the Marmara Sea. 

The isolation of Öcalan, to which Bayık referred, refers to the unmentioned ban on Öcalan’s lawyers visiting him regularly. 

Bayık said this isolation would not be lifted by only allowing one or two people to visit Öcalan. 

“A nation’s leader is in İmralı. If the problem is to be solved then negotiations with this leadership must be conducted on free and equal grounds,” he added. 

Bayık said the criteria for a sustainable solution to the Kurdish problem included turning the negotiated and agreed upon topics into laws at parliament. 

“Accordingly, all these must be realized for a consolidated ceasefire. Neither the Kurdish nation nor the [Kurdish] freedom movement will accept a new and special war government formed against the Kurdish nation, whoever the components of the coalition are,” he added.

Turkish army forces and PKK members have been engaged in an armed struggle since the mid-1980s, but the armed conflict was paused after a peace process was launched in 2012 by the then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Bayık said Ankara had “never complied” to the rules of the ceasefire and continued to accelerate the construction of security posts, known as “kalekol.” He said this revealed the army’s “real intention.” 

The interview came two days after Kurdish-oriented Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş called on the PKK to lay down its arms against Turkey, while also stressing that his call was not enough for a final solution.

“The way to stop the PKK from being a threat is through negotiations. If it is up to our call, I would make a call ... It’s not up to a call, but I am making a call here: The PKK must absolutely lay down arms against Turkey,” Demirtaş said on private broadcaster Habertürk late July 14.

He also said the role of Öcalan is the determinant factor in the PKK’s laying down of arms.

Meanwhile, Öcalan’s attorneys, who have filed a total of 409 applications since July 27, 2011 to visit their client in İmralı, have had their latest applications turned down by the state. They are due to go to the western district of Gemlik on July 27 together in order to present their newest application, news website Radikal reported on July 16. 

If the state authorities once again do not allow for the meeting in İmralı, the attorneys will hold a press conference in Gemlik.