Turkey's HDP co-chair meets with PKK leaders for ‘ceasefire’

Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party leader Selahattin Demirtas meets with high-ranking outlawed PKK representatives Zübeyir Aydar and Remzi Kartal in Brussels in order to reinstall PKK’s unilateral ‘ceasefire’

Courtesy of: AA
Courtesy of: AA

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtas met on Thursday with high-ranking outlawed PKK representatives Zübeyir Aydar and Remzi Kartal in Brussels in order to reinstall the PKK’s unilateral "ceasefire" following recent PKK terror attacks on Turkish security forces in eastern Turkey.

Turkish media has reported Aydar and Kartal saying that Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) will not make any decision or declaration concerning ceasefire, or silencing guns before imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan speaks on the topics.

The KCK is PKK’s umbrella organisation operating in several countries including Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria speculated to be an outline for a so-called “democratic confederalism,” which is theorised by Ocalan.

The PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and the EU.

Aydar and Kartal have forwarded the demands of the KCK to Demirtas and have stated that it is still loyal to the “Dolmabahce Agreement.”

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan and an HDP delegation made a joint press conference on Feb. 28, 2015, in front of the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul following their agreement on the continuation of the peace process.

However, Akdogan and the HDP representatives appeared to have different views of the meeting and also different interpretations of the Dolmabahce declaration since its announcement.  

The PKK leaders told Demirtas that Ocalan’s prison conditions should be improved and a monitoring committee should be formed starting discussions with Ocalan, who is imprisoned in the island of Imrali, in order to ensure a mutual ceasefire, according to the media reports.

Aydar has also called on the United States on Thursday to establish a dialogue with the militant group and to play a mediating role in Turkey's impeded Peace Process.

Aydar and Kartal are co-presidents of the People's Congress of Kurdistan (Kongra-Gel) which is a claimed parliament of the KCK. Both leaders had been deputies of the Turkey’s Peoples’ Labor Party (HEP) in early 1990s before the party was closed by Turkish judicial authorities on the grounds of engaging unconstitutional activities.

They have lived in Europe since 1990s representing the group there following the closing of the HEP.

The HEP is the godfather of the current HDP and was established in 1991 following its breakaway from Turkey’s leftist main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

The former HEP deputies as the leading PKK representatives have met with Demirtas in an important European capital at a tense time discussing substantial issues between Turkey and PKK terrorists.

The meeting has taken place after an HDP delegation discussed on Tuesday the current escalation of the violence with Muhammed Dervisoglu, top official of Turkey’s Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security, which has been charged to manage the peace process by the government.

Dervisoglu told the delegation that Ocalan has “harsh criticisms to all fractions of the conflict,” Turkish media has reported.  

Aydar has said that their meeting was an ordinary one and there have been no communication problems between the Kurds, speaking on the IMC TV. However, they have a communication problem with Turkish state, he added.

Murat Karayilan, the current member and former chairman of the KCK’s Executive Council, has also spoken about ceasefire emphasising that Ocalan’s conditions should be changed in accordance to a negotiation process.

Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern regions by PKK, which was founded in 1974 by Abdullah Ocalan and his supporters in Ankara. Armed clashes and acts of violence have continued on and off for more than 30 years, and claimed more than 40,000 lives.

Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) declared a “Democratic Initiative” concerning Kurdish Question in late July 2009. During the “initiative,” Turkish government expressed that it has a sincere desire to resolve the problem not only by the way of security measures but also peaceful means.

However, the political situation in the country got worse after many clashes involving PKK terrorists and Turkish security forces, particularly, in 2011. In late 2012, one of the worst years of the armed conflict, discussions between Turkish government and PKK were revealed.

At the beginning of 2013, the AK Party announced a peace initiative called the “Resolution Process” and PKK seemed responsive under the instructions of its leader Ocalan.

At a critical time of the process, Ocalan asked PKK terrorists to assemble a disarmament congress in March 2015 during the Newroz celebrations. Disarmament of the group has been labelled the most important part of the process to end the three decades long conflict between outlawed PKK and Turkish government.

However, the group did not assemble the congress and Turkey has blamed the PKK’s Qandil leadership for not putting the disarmament call in effect. Tension has been increased between the AK Party and the HDP during the June 7 election process and it has not been eased after the elections.  

Following the Suruc suicide bombing in Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province, widely thought to have been carried out by ISIS on July 20 claiming 33 lives, the tension has turned into terror attacks. 

PKK has launched various attacks on both police and the Turkish Armed Forces following the bombing.

Twenty-three Turkish security officials have been killed in terror attacks carried out by PKK and ISIS since the bombing.  

In response to the PKK and ISIS attacks, Turkish security forces have stepped up efforts against the militant groups and launched air strikes in several positions used by PKK and ISIS in Northern Iraq and Syria respectively since late July.

Turkish media reported on Thursday that Turkish government is planning to make a large-scale cross-border operation into Northern Iraq against the PKK camps and militants next week following the numerous terror attacks carried out by the group throughout the country.

TRTWorld and agencies