Öcalan ‘trying his best’ as PKK sees no easy pullout

Öcalan ‘trying his best’ as PKK sees no easy pullout

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Öcalan ‘trying his best’ as PKK sees no easy pullout

Deputies Pervin Buldan and Sırrı Süreyya Önder attended a press conference after returning from a visit to İmralı island. dHA Photo

Outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan is currently working on a letter regarding a planned pullout of the group’s militants from Turkey, even as one of its senior leaders has said the organization has no current plans to withdraw from the country.

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder told reporters yesterday upon returning from a visit to İmralı island, where Öcalan is incarcerated, that such a letter would be announced in a few days’ time.

In yesterday’s meeting, Öcalan sent a short message, Önder said at a press meeting in Istanbul. “The process of a solution is continuing with utmost sensitivity,” Öcalan wrote in his statement. “I am putting great efforts into stabilizing the current situation of silence of arms and the withdrawal process. I will share all our work with the people of Turkey in a few days.”

Meanwhile, outlawed Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council member Duran Kalkan said the withdrawal of militants was out of the question at present, according to an interview published on the website of Fırat news agency, which is known for its close ties to the PKK.

‘Self-defense position’

“Our forces are in a cease-fire and self-defense position, they are watching the progress made by the current process,” he said. 

“Our guerrilla forces are maintaining their cease-fire position on the basis of the call Öcalan made on Nevruz on March 21,” he said. “Either concrete steps are taken on the issue or [PKK leader] Apo gets involved in the process directly and can convince [us],” he said as two conditions for the withdrawal.

‘No withdrawal yet’

“Nobody should expect the withdrawal to happen that easily,” Kalkan said.

Kalkan also said the Wise Persons’ Commission would remain incapable of attaining its goals with its current structure.

“The commission is not weak with its quantity, and qualitatively they seem enthusiastic, and the government looks respectful. We do not underestimate these efforts or reject them, but we do not think that it is what it should have been,” he said, adding that the commission’s task was ambiguous.

Wise Persons net support

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News


Members of the Wise Persons’ group for the Aegean region seen at an İzmir meeting.

Four of the seven Wise Persons’ Committees – the Aegean, Central, Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia committees – began meeting with locals in their regions over the weekend. 

Member Baskın Oran said in İzmir that “the need for peace is paramount,” as Doğan TV Holding Chairwoman Arzuhan Doğan Yalçındağ said, “If the peace process is successfully completed, martyrs’ funerals will end and Turkey will get rid of the terror problem that has lasted for years,” daily Radikal reported.
Tarhan Erdem, the head of the committee, said so far the feedback has been very positive.

Members of the southeastern commission visited Diyarbakın Mayor Osman Baydemir, and independent deputy Ahmet Türk.