Turkish government wants March 21 as date for PKK disarmament

Turkish government wants March 21 as date for PKK disarmament

Turkish government wants March 21 as date for PKK disarmament

DHA Photo

The Turkish government has publicly declared its demand that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) lay down arms on the Nevruz festival, which is marked on March 21, underlining that the jailed PKK leader’s 2014 Nevruz message needed to be developed further this year.

“On this Nevruz, laying down arms and taking a further step in the message is needed. There must be an expression concerning a transition to the phase of laying down arms,” Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan said on Jan. 28.

“There must be a call for laying down arms and completely ending actions against Turkey. I believe that this would have a meaning, but we know that previous calls by [PKK leader Abdullah] Öcalan have been let down from time to time,” Akdoğan told private broadcaster A Haber.

His remarks came after being asked whether Öcalan’s role in the current situation was “sufficient and positive,” with regard to the ongoing peace process aimed at ending the three-decade long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the PKK.

“Öcalan definitely has a role. He has clout with the [PKK] organization’s constituents. This is not to give him merit, [but he] should not necessarily be underestimated either. There is an organization, and if that organization will lay down arms upon his word, that means he has a role to play. However, we know that this role is still being let down by the organization from time to time,” Akdoğan said.

Last week, a delegation from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) issued a warning on the peace process from the leaders of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), a supra-organization that includes the PKK, following a meeting at their headquarters in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq on Jan. 22.

In a written statement, the HDP delegation said they were all focused on the “draft negotiation framework” that is at the center of the peace process after being drawn up by Öcalan and shared with both the HDP and the PKK leadership in Kandil.

“We have set a timeline in order to prevent, yet again, stalling and deception,” senior PKK leader Cemil Bayık said, adding that they themselves would disclose Öcalan’s “Democratic Solution and Negotiation Draft” if the government failed to stick to the timeline.

Accusing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of imposing practices that stalled the process, the KCK leaders said the government was “still not seriously approaching the negotiation process.”
They urged the government to “cease wasting time and carry the process to a permanent resolution.”