PKK warns Tur­key to progress re­forms by Septem­ber

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

The Turk­ish gov­ern­ment must take con­crete steps to ad­vance a peace process with Kur­dish mil­i­tants by Septem­ber or risk a re­turn to hos­til­i­ties, the co-head of the rebels’ po­lit­i­cal wing was quoted as say­ing yes­ter­day.

The Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK) and the gov­ern­ment opened peace talks last Oc­to­ber with the goal of end­ing a con­flict which has killed 40,000 peo­ple in three decades and stunted the de­vel­op­ment of Tur­key’s mainly Kur­dish south­east.

How­ever, the process has fal­tered in re­cent weeks, with Ankara com­plain­ing that a with­drawal by PKK fight­ers into north­ern Iraq is hap­pen­ing too slowly.

The fragility of the peace process has been high­lighted by iso­lated mil­i­tant at­tacks on mil­i­tary out­posts.

“Steps must be taken now. Septem­ber 1 is the dead­line,” Cemil Bayik, who was pro­moted deputy to jailed PKK leader Ab­dul­lah Ocalan ear­lier this month, told Fi­rat News, a web­site with links to the mil­i­tants.

“If there are no steps un­der­way by Septem­ber 1, then it will be un­der­stood that the aim is not peace... In that case, the free­dom move­ment and Kur­dish peo­ple will de­fend it­self.”

The del­i­cate process has taken on an ad­di­tional ur- gency for Tur­key as Kur­dish mili­tias fight­ing in neigh­bor­ing Syria’s civil war push for greater au­ton­omy for parts of north­ern Syria, just over the bor­der.

Ankara is con­cerned that a vi­o­lent strug­gle for greater Kur­dish in­de­pen­dence there could em­bolden the PKK on Turk­ish soil and jeop­ar­dize the peace process.

Kur­dish lead­ers have called on Prime Min­is­ter Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan’s gov­ern­ment to launch re­forms set out un­der peace talks with Ocalan, but Ankara has said the Kurds need to keep their side of the bar­gain by speed­ing up the with­drawal of their fight­ers to north­ern Iraq.

The re­forms in­clude steps to boost the rights of the Kur­dish mi­nor­ity. Th­ese would cover with­draw­ing anti-ter­ror­ism leg­is­la­tion un­der which thou­sands have been im­pris­oned for links to the PKK.

They would also grant full Kur­dish-lan­guage ed­u­ca­tion rights and lower the thresh­old of votes which par­ties need to en­ter par­lia­ment.

The PKK is­sued what it said was a “fi­nal warn­ing” to the gov­ern­ment two weeks ago: take con­crete steps now or be re­spon­si­ble for the peace process grind­ing to a halt.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iraq

© PressReader. All rights reserved.