Saturday, February 19, 2011

Turkey: PKK to take decisive stance in March

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Erbil, Feb. 19 (AKnews) –Kurdish armed group the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) says it will discuss and assume a decisive stance late in March as to whether to extend the current ceasefire or resume its military activities if the Turkish state continues to show no sign of wanting to peacefully resolve the country's Kurdish issue.pkk

The outlawed PKK which has been locked in a combat with the Turkish state since 1984 that has claimed some 45,000 lives, most of them Kurds, announced a ceasefire last year as a show of good will towards a peaceful solution to Turkey's Kurdish issue.

Although the PKK have declared unilateral amnesty seven times over the past 17 years, Turkey has never officially recognized them. The PKK's latest ceasefire announced on November 1, 2010 has been extended three times.

"The leadership is obliged to discuss the inactive attitude of the PKK in late March, because we have found out that the Turkish state is preparing for a military attack on the bases and headquarters of the PKK," said Roj Welat, media official for the PKK's People's Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK).

The KCK is generally known as the urban wing of the PKK.

"Everybody knows that the KCK has extended its ceasefire three times, but this has not prompted any positive reactions from the Turkish state" Mr. Welat said, "in fact, the oppression and detention of Kurdish activists has worsened."

The Kurdish issue in Turkey comes down primarily to the Kurds not being recognized in the Turkish constitution as a nation.

On September 12, Turkey voted on a package of constitutional reforms, but those reforms did not contain any reference to the identity of the Kurds and subsequently was boycotted by the majority of the ethnic group. The reforms were approved by a 58 percent victory.

The Kurds constitute around 20% of Turkey's population of 71 million.

The KCK official accused the Turkish state of deceiving the Kurds under the cover of initiative, the "Democratic Opening" which was declared by Prime Minister Recep Teyip Erdogan to show intentions of solving the Kurdish issue.

Mr. Welat believes that Turkey can no longer "deceive" Kurdish politicians with "new stories" under the name of democratic opening in the country, "because the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is practicing an occupier-occupation policy in Kurdish cities."

The ruling AKP is trying to cover up "inhumane" crimes against the Kurds in the Kurdish cities of Turkey by the Turkish state, he said. "But the mass graves are evidence of those crimes."

On Feb. 9, some 20 bodies were recovered in two mass graves discovered in the predominantly Kurdish city of Bitlis in southeast Turkey, believed to be victims of the conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK.

At the height of the conflict in the 1990s, thousands of people disappeared and their families' struggle to find out what happened to their loved ones has always been met with silence.

The chiefs of staff of the Turkish army said the remains belonged to the outlawed PKK fighters who were killed in the 1999 clashes.

Arsene Sonmazler, the head of the Free Thought and Educational Rights Assembly, believes that there are about 100 mass graves in the city and hundreds of them in Kurdish areas.

Reported by Karzan Karim, edited by Raber Y. Aziz


Saturday, February 19th 2011 11:09 AM