Only Öcalan can persuade PKK to lay down arms, senior PKK leader says
DHA PhotoAbdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is the only person who can persuade the militants to lay down their arms, a senior PKK leader in the Kandil Mountains said in an interview.
“The only person who can persuade [the militants] to lay down arms is leader Apo [Öcalan],” Cemil Bayık, co-chair of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), a supra organization that includes the PKK, said in an interview with daily Cumhuriyet published on March 15.
He also said Öcalan, who is serving a life-sentence on İmralı Island, must be released and allowed to meet with the PKK militants in person.
“Nobody can persuade the guerilla but leader Apo. We are holding the co-leadership of this organization but even we cannot persuade the guerilla. The only person who can persuade them is leader Apo. If [Öcalan] meets the guerilla leaders [in person] then it is possible to persuade them,” Bayık said.
Bayık also said they have to meet with Öcalan face-to-face and added they can visit him on İmralı Island but they wished for his release.
He insisted Öcalan should be released and allowed to speak with the PKK in person, adding that demanding the release of Öcalan as part of the peace process is a “realistic demand.”
Bayık also said the PKK has taken all steps it has to take so far as part of the process and now it’s the government’s turn to take steps. He said the Turkish government has not accepted their demands for the involvement of a third party during the meetings in the past. He accused the government of denying the existence of a Kurdish problem. “The state and the government do not accept the Kurdish problem, and the Kurdish people. They accept the problem as a terror problem rather than a Kurdish problem. But this thesis has broken down,” he claimed.