Kurdistan. PKK: a challenge to start talking peace

by editor | 15th August 2010 10:31 am

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Once again it is the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) who took the first step. Yesterday’s declaration of yet another unilateral ceasefire shows that the PKK is in a position of strength. Political strength, that is. Indeed, important decision needs (and can only be made) a strong internal support and consensus. This the PKK has shown to have. Not the same can be said for the Turkish government which indeed has demonstrated in this past couple of years (just to keep it close) to be hostage in turns of the army, its internal fundamentalist and sciovinist front, the opposition parties with their blind nationalism and racism.
The PKK has proved once again to be in control which ultimately means it showed to have a vision for the future. And it is a shared vision. Shared and common, which ultimately means it is a vision on which the Kurdish people agree. And again the Kurdish people in all of its shades and organisation, i.e. in all of its reach and diverse core of activities, whether it is the municipalities work, the grassroots work, the cultural work, the social work, the women work. What the Kurdish liberation movement has proved all these years is its incredible ability to face up to the challenges in all of the areas in which people’s life is divided.  There is a cohesion and consistency which is what has brought the municipalities and the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party), and before that the DTP (Democratic Society Party) to work on the building of the so called ‘democratic autonomy’, a viable (and so far the only proposal on the table) proposal, model to run a state (the Turkish state) which is not (and sooner or later both the kemalists and the ultra nationalists, as well as the army, will have to come to terms with that) the 1923 Turkish Republic as Kemal Ataturk proclaimed it to be. Indeed it never was, because, for its own composition, the Turkish Republic could never be the territory of solely the Turks, with Turkish as their sole language. But this is another story.
Back to the present, the PKK with yesterday’s ceasefire has offered once again to the (weak) Turkish government an opportunity. An opportunity to seriously go down to business, which means genuinely get involved in building a viable, democratic and egalitarian peace process.
Former president of human rights association and BDP MP, Akin Birdal, is right. “It is the Turkish government’s turn to take a step”, he said. It is indeed, and the PKK went even further as it spelled out four simple issues which must be addressed if there is a genuine commitment towards a lasting peace.
In its statement, the PKK says that “before anything else the continuous operations taken up against the military and political areas must be halted and a process of bilateral ceasefire must be developed”. The second point is the request for the “immediate release of around 1700 Kurdish civilian politicians and members of the peace group who were arrested unjustly and unjustifiably”. The third point underlines the need for the  “commencement of a negotiation process based on the three-points resolution framework presented to the public by our leader Abdullah Ocalan and the creation of conditions for leader Ocalan to actively participate in the peace process”. The last point asks for the “reduction of the 10 percent election threshold which does not exist in any democratic country”. It is worth noting that Abdullah Ocalan underlined three conditions necessary to trigger a peace process: bilateral ceasefire, the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission similar to that established in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid and organising the return home of the PKK guerrillas (which would happened in different stages, beginning with the gathering of guerrillas in one place under the supervision of an international organisation and then, when conditions are suitable, with a return en masse).
Again in its statement the PKK underlines that “in order for this process to transform into a profound and permanent peace, the AKP government and the Turkish state must act accordingly. If the AKP government under various excuses fails to move forward and continues with its elimination process by imposing a deadlock, then it should be known by all that this process shall not proceed unilaterally. “
The statement continues underlining that “in order for this no-conflict period, which is being declared unilaterally for the seventh time, to be successful not only the Turkish state must take a step but also the democratic forces and non-governmental organisations must fulfil their own responsibilities. Therefore, we call on all forces in Turkey, which are pro-peace and pro-democracy, to actively step in.”
The PKK is aware of the fact that “the success of this process that we have declared also depends on the unity and solidarity of all forces from Kurdistan, both in the North of Kurdistan and other parts, around the peace and democracy struggle and for everyone to fulfil their own responsibilities. As a result, we call above all the leaders of the federal region of Kurdistan as well as all the forces of Kurdistan to actively fulfil their responsibilities.”  
The statement ends with a call to “the UN and all the other international organisations and forces to act responsibly when it comes to the Kurdish question. We would also like to call on these forces to make efforts to resolve the Kurdish question in a peaceful, contemporary and democratic manner as this is also in accordance with humanitarian responsibilities.”  
And a call is made to “our people, as well as all the fighters and militants of our movement to correctly understand this process, which developed in accordance with the message of our leader, to act more responsibly than ever before in order for this period to proceed successfully and to fulfil the duties that fall upon them.”
The next days and weeks will say if indeed the Turkish government and establishment are up to the challenge made by the PKK. It would be crucial to read exactly what will go on behind the scenes and behind the lines. Because the challenge made by the PKK once again is not a military one. Indeed it is a challenge to start talking peace.

Source URL: https://globalrights.info/2010/08/kurdistan-pkk-a-challenge-to-start-talking-peace/