PKK should leave unarmed, says Turkish president

PKK should leave unarmed, says Turkish president

PKK should leave unarmed, says Turkish president

Turkish President Abdullah Gül. AA Photo

President Abdullah Gül joined discussions on how the retreat of terrorist should best be conducted, differing from many as he suggested that terrorists leave Turkish territories after laying down their weapons.

“What is important is that this [terror] problem should fully be removed from Turkey’s agenda to have genuine brotherhood, peace and comfort strengthened in Turkey. There is no doubt that the dropping of weapons is the essence of this. Not leaving Turkey with arms and waiting outside,” Gül stressed during his joint press conference with visiting Cameroonian President Paul Biya yesterday.

A discussion on how the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will leave Turkish territories in line with the call of its imprisoned leader, Abdullah Öcalan, has been discussed since last week. Öcalan remained vague on the issue, only calling for the PKK to leave Turkish territories. This call has not been interpreted as the laying down of weapons and crossing the border into northern Iraq.

Describing these discussions as very lively and necessary with so many proposals, Gül, however, urged that impossible promises that could weaken Turkey’s unity and togetherness should never be voiced. “I have no concerns on this,” he added.

When asked his opinions about establishing a “wise-men commission,” the president recalled that there were numerous intellectuals, academics and journalists who have been thinking about this issue for years and who can contribute to this process. “As this is an issue in the interest of all Turkish citizens, it’s beneficial for everyone to contribute to the process by expressing their thoughts in a very responsible way,” he said. But the president said the formation of such a body and its way of conduct was up to the government to decide.

Not wise men, ‘wise-people group’ better

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized the media’s coverage of a so-called “wise-men group” and argued that he never disclosed such a project. “Once they asked in a television interview whether a ‘wise-men group’ could be possible. That could be done, we answered. From that day on they started to pick some names and introduce them as wise man,” he said in a parliamentary address to his party.

“Some name it a ‘wise-men group,’ some ‘wise-people.’ Some mention this figure, others another figure. There is no such thing. Are we going to call it a ‘wise-men’ or ‘wise-people group?’ If this is going to happen, it will be after our decision. The media or columnists cannot decide on it,” he said. Although he said there was no decision, he added that it would be better to name it the “wise-people group” as it would also contain female participants.

The “wise-people group” will serve as an advisor to the government, Erdoğan said, adding that the group would work to build a positive perception with regard to the recent peace process. “We might take advantage of such a group. We want representation from all groups; from non-governmental organizations, from the media, universities, etc,” he said.