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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid