Kurdish supporters of the PKK in Diyarbakir. File photo
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QAMISHLI – The executive council of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) –known as KCK– said it is ready to return to peace negotiations, but only if Turkey makes a step for the resolution of this issue by allowing a parliamentary delegation to visit the imprisoned PKK-leader.
The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) said the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), international community, and organizations in Iraqi Kurdistan have asked the PKK to negotiate with Turkey. But the KCK said Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) must show its willingness to return to the peace process.
Turkey should allow a parliamentary delegation including the HDP to visit the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan to start the negotiations soon, the KCK said.
It said that the PKK’s imprisoned leader Ocalan launched a peace process in late 2012 and a manifesto for Turkey’s democratization during the Kurdish new year celebrations in Newroz 2013, “but the AKP government did not take any steps to resolve the Kurdish issue.”
The PKK also said that their leader warned the government for the ‘parallel state’, a reference to the Fethullah Gulen movement, that the government says it’s the main culprit behind the recent military coup attempt.
“Each time, Leader Apo [Ocalan] spoke of a ‘parallel state within the state’ and emphasized insistently that these structures with outer connections did not want a resolution for the Kurdish question,” the PKK leadership said.
It added that the Kurdish movement in Turkey was ready to make a new approach, after the failed July 15 coup attempt. “But decided not to do so in the face of the approach manifested by the AKP government, which was to eradicate the ground for coups.”
“The Kurdish movement agreed that AKP needed to take a step for promoting democracy, resolution of the Kurdish question and objecting to coups,” the PKK-linked KCK said.
Speaking to ARA News, Ceng Sagnic, a researcher with the Tel Aviv-based Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, said there were indicators that PKK resumed attempts to deliver messages to Turkey through KRG [Iraqi Kurdistan’s government] before its actual statement to restart negotiations with Turkey was announced.
“Turkey’s enhanced diplomatic efforts to normalize ties with Iraq and reach a certain level of understanding with Iran have been the most significant factors that have come to threaten PKK’s capacity in the region,” Sagnic said.
“There is certainly a visible shift in PKK’s policies as reflected in its most recent statements. Such shift is likely to include the normalization of relations with KDP, hence PKK had hinted its willingness to reach a deal with Barzani on the prevailing issue of Sinjar,” he added.
Cemil Bayik, co-head of the KCK, said that he is ready to meet with Iraqi Kurdistan’s President Masoud Barzani to solve their problems.
His statement came after Turkey started to make relations with Russia, Iran, and maybe indirectly with Syrian regime, to prevent Kurdish progress in northern Syria.
“We know the Middle East is going through a sensitive phase,” he said. “All Kurdish parties should see that and act accordingly,” Bayik was quoted by NRT as saying.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) also called on a return to peace talks, after a bomb attack killed 11 near a police station, and injured more than 200 in the town of Elazig last Thursday.
“We are deeply concerned and saddened by recent incidents happened today in Elazığ, a few days ago in Van and Diyarbakır. Turkey is led to a state of heavy clashes and deaths everyday step by step,” the HDP statement added.
The Kurdish party urged all actors to abstain from violence.
“We all must intensify our quest and efforts on ending violence and clashes,” the HDP added.
“It is unacceptable to have violence as an inured part of our daily lives. We repeat our call on returning to negotiation and resolution process to stop the bloodshed immediately,” the HDP stated.
However, Sagnic said that Turkey will most likely not respond to the call for peace.
“A direct and positive response should not be expected from Turkey due to the dramatic increase in nationalist sentiments in this country,” he told ARA News.
“However, undeclared low-level negotiations through third parties are likely as the ongoing level of PKK-linked violence in Turkey has become a significant destabilizing factor while the government has to focus on its anti-coup campaign,” he added.
On Friday, Turkey’s local Hurriyet newspaper reported that the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım ruled out a dialogue with the PKK, calling them terrorist. “We have nothing to talk about with the killers,” he was quoted by Hurriyet.
Most likely the Turkish ruling party feels empowered by the failed coup, the support it got from the rival opposition and the new relations it established with Russia.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg