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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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 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.

VOA Blogs

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