News / Europe

Turkey Cautious Over PKK Cease-Fire Announcement

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2012 photo)Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2012 photo)
x
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2012 photo)
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2012 photo)
Dorian Jones

The announcement of a cease-fire by Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Worker's Party or PKK, has been cautiously welcomed by Turkey's prime minister.

The imprisoned rebel leader described his call for a cease-fire and withdrawal of his forces from Turkey as historic. But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was cautious in his response.


"I find the call, the invitation, a positive development," he said. "But the essential thing is the decision into practice. We would like to see the reality of Ocalan's remarks in the shortest time possible," Erdogan said.
 

The Turkish government has indicted that the withdrawal of an estimated 3,000 PKK fighters in Turkey could be achieved by the end of the year. Prime Minister Erdogan also gave a commitment that departing rebels would be allowed safe passage.


However, Ocalan gave no timetable for the withdrawal. Murat Karayilan, the commander of the PKK in nothern Iraq, reportedly ordered a cease-fire but not a call for withdrawal from Turkey


Sinan Ulgen, head of the Istanbul-based research institute Edam, believes the PKK is looking for the government to make some concessions.


"I think the PKK wants the parliament to acknowledge this process. If they get this commitment from the Turkish parliament it will be the main guarantee that they are keen as a legitimate interlocutor. And, that would certainty go a long way in convincing their grassroots (groups) or to their constituents that they have acquired this legitimacy and that they are not seen as a defeated quote-unquote army," Ulgen said.


Until now, efforts to resolve the decades-long conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK have been confined to talks between Ocalan and the head of Turkey's Intelligence Agency, Hakan Fidan. Erdogan refuses to describe the talks as negotiations.


Gultan Kisanak, co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, said earlier this month the government has to legitimize the process by bringing in parliament.


"We believe right now there should be the creation of parliament commissions to work on the peace negotiations and this is what we expect from the government, she said. "It is vital in helping to bridge the different demands of the state and Kurdish people."


Analyst Ulgen warns that such a move would carry risks for the prime minister and the peace process.


"We should all recall that Ocalan is still viewed by many Turks as the person responsible for the deaths of up to 35,000 people. And, therefore, a government initiative that would aim to legitimize the talks with him is likely to produce a backlash in Turkish society. So that is the reason why the government is quite cautious about this," Ulgen said.


With the arrival of spring and the snows melting in the mountain hideouts of the PKK across Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast, observers predict an increase in pressure on the rebels to withdraw, along with growing expectations by Kurds of concessions by the government.

 

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs