PKK leader’s message will be read in Kurdish and Turkish: BDP

PKK leader’s message will be read in Kurdish and Turkish: BDP

DIYARBAKIR - Hürriyet Daily News
PKK leader’s message will be read in Kurdish and Turkish: BDP

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş. DHA photo

More than a million people are expected to pack a square in Diyarbakır for Nevruz today to hear a “historic” cease-fire call from outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan that is to be relayed to crowds in both Turkish and Kurdish.

“All of Turkey is looking forward to hearing Öcalan’s message. Everybody is in a state of high expectation for stopping the deaths and ensuring a true peace,” Raci Bilici, the Diyarbakır provincial head of Human Rights Association (İHD), told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

“We are keeping our hopes high, but we have doubts about whether the peace process will be able to bear fruit as quick as government officials claim. The government has not yet made public how the process will proceed. Nonetheless, we want to be hopeful for the process,” Bilici said.

The five-page letter from Öcalan that is to be read out during today’s festivities is expected to outline a three-step road map that will begin with an urgent cease-fire declaration by the PKK, sources said. Second, the plan calls for around 4,000 PKK militants – just over half of the number of fighters that are thought to be in Turkey – to leave the country within three months. The last step is reportedly disarmament. The people to read Öcalan’s letter could include two of Demirtaş, BDP Iğdır deputy Pervin Buldan or BDP Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder, sources said.

Celebrations in Diyarbakır will be held in “Nevruz Park” in Bağlar district. The Kurdish umbrella organization Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) are the main organizers of the event. Some 2 million people are expected to gather in Diyarbakır for the celebrations, according to BDP executives. During the latest parliamentary visit to İmralı island, where Öcalan is serving a life sentence, the PKK leader conveyed a message to the public through BDP deputies and announced that he would make a call for the March 21 Nevruz celebration.

‘Historic call’

“The declaration that I will prepare will be a historic call. This call will include satisfactory information about all military and political legs of the resolution,” Öcalan said in his March 18 statement.

“Öcalan’s road map for the resolution has a significant importance. A [rapid] disarmament of the PKK is not expected but the silencing of arms alone will be very substantial,” Uğur Yaman, the Diyarbakır provincial head of Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), told the Daily News. People in Diyarbakır have been keeping a wary eye on the process given the state’s previous actions toward the Kurdish people, Yaman said. “Nevertheless, we are aware that we should lend our support to any effort if there’s a glimmer of hope for a resolution.” Young people on the streets of Diyarbakır also seem hopeful. “Everybody here has the feeling that this time is different than the others,” Doğan, a 24-year-old student, said.

However, not everybody shares his optimism. “The issue will come to a point and the Turkish government will not be able to recognize some rights of Kurds considering their popular support in western Turkey,” said another university student, Fikret.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Muammer Güler said carrying posters of Öcalan would banned as this is considered as “praising criminals.” Legal action will be taken against those who violate the rule, he said.