Turkish government eyes PKK ceasefire as the first step for peace
Three deputies Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies is visiting on Feb 23 the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. AFP photoIn the second phase of the ongoing peace process the Turkish government has sought a permanent ceasefire with the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) beginning with the disarmament of PKK militants, Turkish media reported Feb 23 ahead of a visit by three Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies to jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.
“Our goal is [to convince] the PKK to lay down and bury its arms,” said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief advisor Yalçın Akdoğan in an interview with daily Habertürk.
Akdoğan particularly emphasized that the process’ milestone will be the retreat of the PKK out of Turkish borders. “The retreat will be an indication of how much will [the PKK] has vis-a-vis Öcalan’s call. How much do they want and support this process? As long as there are still terrorists in Turkey, the possibilities of conflicts and sabotages will increase and this is a situation that can cause inconveniences to the process,” he said.
Meanwhile, daily Sabah reported that according to a schedule submitted to the government, the PKK would start to disarm in the spring. “Öcalan will give the BDP delegation visiting him [Feb. 23] letters to be transmitted to the Kandil mountains, [where the PKK headquarters are located], the European committee of the organization as well as a public statement. The BDP will ensure contact [between Öcalan and] the organization,” the daily said.
Aslı Aydıntaşbaş of daily Milliyet sustained that there is some expectation in the government as well as in the BDP that Öcalan will deliver a call for a ceasefire to the organization. “The PKK leadership in the Kandil mountains is expected to accept the state of non-belligerence,” she wrote.