Öcalan calls on PKK militants to leave Turkey by August

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The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan has called on PKK militants to leave Turkish soil from the end of the March, saying that this process should be completed by August, according to media reports.

The three letters sent by Öcalan to the PKK, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the PKK’s wing in the Europe focus on a road map to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue.

BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş received Öcalan’s letter on Feb. 26 from a state official, who he initially thought was from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), daily Akşam reported on Feb. 27.

The letter also says that legal guarantees and all conditions must be provided in order for the PKK to leave the Turkish soil. “There can be a ‘Turkey’ upper identity in the new Constitution, but no ethnic identity should be underlined, including Kurdish, in the new charter,” says the letter, which also recommends the establishment of parliamentary commissions on the Kurdish issue.

Öcalan also gives a deadline of five to 10 days to receive a response to his calls, saying that he wants to receive a responses before the Nevruz holiday, which is widely celebrated by Turkish Kurds on March 21. He says he may call for a truce on March 21, Nevruz, if he gets positive responses.

The responses of the PKK in Kandil and its wing in Europe will be delivered to MİT by the BDP, daily Hürriyet reported on Feb. 27. Öcalan will work on the responses before meeting with the BDP deputies again.

The 20-page letters were not addressed to specific names, but rather offices, Doğan News Agency reported Feb. 27. The letter sent to the BDP addresses the “BDP co-chairs,” the letter sent to the European wing of the PKK addresses the “Kongra-Gel Presidency,” while the letter sent to the PKK bases in Kandil addresses the “KCK executive council presidency.”

The letters addressing Europe and Kandil will be delivered by “trusted people” sent by the BDP, the agency also said. The last time Öcalan wrote to Kandil was July 6, 2011, as part of the Oslo meetings seeking a solution to the issue.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said Turkey needed to consider what Kandil [the mountain range where the PKK has its main bases] and the European wing of the PKK state after receiving Öcalan’s letters, speaking in a televised interview with private broadcaster NTV today.

“We are on a rocky road. We wish for all the political parties to contribute to the process. When we started this [process] we anticipated the PKK laying down its arms and leaving Turkey,” Arınç said.
“Abdullah Öcalan was convicted to life time imprisonment and the conditions are apparent. The realities must not be ignored. If we are talking about laying down arms, we must acknowledge that Öcalan is an important actor. There can be some critical points, we are just in the beginning.”

He stressed that the negotiation process was based on realism. “We should not be daydreamers, but we must be hopeful. I do not know what sort of negative incidents can take place, but I have been hopeful from the very beginning. Society has expectations; Turkey needs to oversee what Kandil Mountain and the European wing of the PKK will state. MİT is still an important actor in the process,” Arınç said.

 

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