PKK to ‘withdraw, lay down arms soon’

PKK to ‘withdraw, lay down arms soon’

PKK to ‘withdraw, lay down arms soon’

Turkish army shifts military vehicles to western parts of country. DHA photo

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will soon start to withdraw from Turkish soil and lay down arms as part of the ongoing process of finding a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue, two senior militant leaders said in an interview published in Turkish daily Vatan yesterday.

Duran Kalkan, an executive committee member of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the PKK, said there was no problem with the withdrawal from Turkish soil at the moment, but added that it could not be completed soon.

“There is no serious problem on our side. But of course the conditions [for a withdrawal] must emerge and become practical. The withdrawal is not a process of one hour or one day,” Kalkan told Ruşen Çakır from daily Vatan in Iraq’s border town with Turkey.

Kalkan also said the PKK would lay down arms in this process, upon a question. “Of course, there won’t be [arms]. It is risky, there is no guarantee of the results when you start a struggle, but I believe the conditions are in favor of us.”

‘Retreat will take time’

The completion of the withdrawal process will take time due to the geographic conditions and climate, said Delal Amed, a senior militant leader in the PKK. “We will leave the same way we entered. We will provide the security measures [during the retreat]; we do not have any expectation on this issue. We have many forces; it will take time,” Amed said in the same interview.

Kalkan also said the expectations of a legal guarantee for the withdrawal have been largely met. He said that the content of Öcalan’s last letter sent to Kandil was satisfactory. Senior militant leader Murat Karayılan is expected to hold a press conference today in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq, where the PKK bases are located, daily Hürriyet has reported. Karayılan is expected to call for withdrawal.

He also said it was not easy for the PKK militants to retreat, as “they have fought for a cause for a long time.” “We said that more messages should come from İmralı [the island where the jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, is serving a life sentence]. Now these things are being realized.”

“We know that no one will give us something, we will struggle by changing the methods and we believe that we will be successful at that,” said Kalkan, adding that this was their inference from Öcalan’s message. Meanwhile, the Turkish military’s soldiers, tanks, ammunition located in patrols on the border with Iraq and Şırnak were moved to western posts yesterday, Doğan News Agency reported. Tanks and other military vehicles were seen being carried by convoys of trucks.