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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora