Turkey’s Kurdish-dominant tribal leaders representing 120 different tribes from the twelve southeastern and eastern provinces have come together in the Uludere district of the Sirnak province in order to issue a “peace” call and demand the outlawed PKK to lead its armed units out of the country.
The PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and the EU.
Kurdish tribes have been joined with the call coming from the provinces of Mardin, Diyarbakir, Sirnak, Batman, Bitlis, Van, Bingol, Hakkari, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Mus and Siirt. They made their “historic” call on Sept.1, observing World Peace Day at the same time.
PKK terrorists carried out several attacks against Turkish security forces since the Suruc suicide bombing in Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province, widely thought to have been carried out by ISIS on July 20.
More than 70 Turkish security officials have been killed in militant attacks by the PKK and ISIS since the bombing.
In response to the PKK and ISIS attacks, the Turkish security forces have reportedly stepped up their efforts against militant groups and killed more than seven hundred PKK terrorists.
During its domestic operations and air strikes, the security forces targeted PKK camps and teams in northern Iraq as well as several positions used by ISIS in northern Syria since late July.
Now Kurdish tribes have stepped in the current conflict to stop further bloodshed calling “the members of the armed militant group to end violence and immediately leave the country in order to stop infighting and reconstitute brotherhood.”
The tribes have been brought together at the house of Babat family in the town of Senoba located in Uludere. The Babats have been an important tribal presence in the violent district of Uludere bordering Iraq.
Hazim Babat has been the leader of the tribe and also a forerunner of the village guards established and armed by the Turkish state against the PKK in late 1980s.
The village guards have been recruited from mostly Kurdish tribes located in Turkey’s east and tasked to prevent the PKK attacks. They are in command of local gendarmerie forces.
Babat said, “our experience in the past has repeatedly indicated that armed conflict and violence could get us no where and bloodshed could not resolve any problem.”
Babat has also referred to Turkey’s "Peace Process" saying that the, “Resolution Process has aimed to install a civilised social setting in order to resolve our problems on political grounds deactivating armed conflict. In this process our most important gain has been silencing arms and preventing deaths.”
In the beginning of 2013, the then-governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) announced a peace initiative officially called the “Peace Process” and the PKK seemed responsive until July 2015 under the instructions of its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan.
“Life has been normalised in the region and our people have looked to the future with confidence. There is no legitimate reason to destruct this kind of democratic setting which we all have been welcoming just a few months ago,” Babat added.
He also touched upon the fact that 30 years-long armed conflict has taught everybody that it could only achieve suffering and tears and it has been heading for the last roundup. “Current conflict and cycle of terror are dragging us into an atmosphere in which hope of our people has been broken and expectation for peace and democracy has been undermined,” he stated.
Babat has emphasised that the June 7 elections have paved the way for Turkey’s politics and they are ready to contribute to the possible reactivation of "Peace Process" citing an emergent need that not weapons but politics should speak.
“In this process we will continue to support our state,” he also remarked.
Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern regions by the 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.