News / Europe

Kurds, Turkey Face Impasse Over Withdrawal

Thousands of PKK supporters demonstrate with flags and posters of jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, in southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, March 21, 2013.
Thousands of PKK supporters demonstrate with flags and posters of jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, in southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, March 21, 2013.
Reuters
Turkey's peace process with Kurdish militants faces a hurdle as the rebels demand legal protection to prevent any military attack on them during their planned withdrawal after decades of fighting, a call rejected by the government.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) declared a cease-fire with Turkey last month in response to an order from its jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan after months of talks with Ankara to halt a conflict which has killed more than 40,000.

The next planned step is a withdrawal of PKK fighters from Turkish territory to their bases in the mountains of northern Iraq, but the militants say they could be vulnerable to attack from Turkish troops unless parliament gives them legal protection.

"The guerrillas cannot withdraw unless a legal foundation is prepared and measures are taken, because guerrillas suffered major attacks when they left in the past," PKK commander Cemil Bayik told Kurdish Nuce TV in an interview aired late on Monday.

Hundreds of PKK fighters are estimated to have been killed in clashes with security forces during a previous withdrawal in 1999 after Ocalan's capture and conviction for treason. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said he guarantees there would be no repeat of such clashes but is against legislation, instead saying the rebels should disarm before withdrawing to remove the risk of firefights with Turkish forces.

"We don't care where those withdrawing leave their weapons or even whether they bury them. They must put them down and go. Because otherwise this situation is very open to provocation," Erdogan said in a television interview late on Friday.

Milliyet newspaper reported security sources as saying about 700 of 1,500 PKK militants believed to be in Turkey may be allowed to reintegrate into society rather than withdrawing as they have not taken part in armed attacks.

The PKK has rejected a withdrawal without legal protection.

"A withdrawal as called for by Erdogan is not on our movement's agenda," PKK leaders in northern Iraq said over the weekend, calling for government action to advance the peace process. "It is essential for the lasting and healthy development of the process that some concrete, practical steps are taken in order to convince our forces," the group said in a statement.

Erdogan has taken a considerable political risk in allowing negotiations with Ocalan, reviled by most Turks, to unfold publicly. The government has said little about what reforms it would make to persuade the PKK to disarm.

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, launched its insurgency in 1984 with the aim of carving out an independent state in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey, but later moderated its goal to autonomy.

Pro-Kurdish politicians are focused on boosting minority rights and stronger local government for the Kurds, who make up about 20 percent of Turkey's population of 75 million people.
        
Erdogan said he would meet on Thursday members of a "wise people" commission who will prepare a report on the peace process for the government within one month. The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is separately calling for a parliamentary commission to monitor the process.
        
Efforts to resolve the legal protection dispute are likely to top the agenda in planned talks between a BDP delegation and Ocalan in his jail on Imrali island, south of Istanbul. The visit is expected this weekend, a Justice Ministry official told Reuters.
        
The visit, which may bring an order from Ocalan for the withdrawal to begin, will follow celebrations by Ocalan's supporters to mark his birthday on April 4 at his birthplace in southeast Turkey.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Thuruvan Pillai from: Los Angeles,CA-U.S.A
April 03, 2013 1:13 AM
Turkish Government may put itself in the shoes or boots of PKK freedom fiighters.May also draw lessons from Irish Republican Army and British Army.even to day British could not demilitarize IRA.Westminster do not govern Northern Ireland but it is governed by its own Government-devolution.PKK fighters may be given the safe passage with their weapons guaranteed by Turkish Parliament. Negotiations may lead to secession of Kurdish territory.It would be win-win for both Turks and Kurds.

Another role model-secession of Kosovo from Serbia.Yet another one creation of Bangla Desh( former East Pakistan). Yet another creation of East Timor(Indonesia)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More