Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party leader speaks of laying down arms

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP co-chair Demirtas says outlawed PKK leader Ocalan ready to make call to lay down arms

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The co-chairman of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas, stated on Thursday that Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader and founder of the outlawed PKK, is ready to make a call for the group to lay down their arms.

Responding questions from journalists before a meeting in Turkish capital Ankara, Demirtas said Ocalan is ready to make a call for the disarmament of the PKK, which he founded, as a part of Turkey’s ongoing Resolution Process.

At the beginning of 2013, the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) announced a peace initiative called the “Resolution Process” following its previous “Democratic Initiative,” and the PKK seemed responsive under the instructions of its leader Ocalan.

The PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey as well as NATO and the EU. The conflict between the Turkish government and the group has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people and injured thousands.

Demirtas has said his party was ready to take responsibility to achieve security, peace and the welfare of society regardless of any future coalition government.

"Early elections are not a priority for discussion as the official results have not been released … drawing the country into discussion of an early election will not be useful for anyone,” he added.

Ocalan made a call to withdraw all armed PKK members from Turkish lands and put an end to the armed conflict at the 2013 Newroz celebrations, a festival that the Kurdish population of Turkey see as an important traditional event, and repeated his call in 2015 Newroz.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan and a 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, the PKK continued to threaten the Peace Process with several attacks which increased especially before the June 7 general elections.

In the meantime, Demirtas harshly responded to claims made by the Nationalist Movement Party, MHP which considers the HDP as part of the PKK.

In the same statement, Demirtas also claimed that the HDP is not an “armed group” and “if the HDP did not stand in the way, breathing would not be easy,” referring to armed attacks carried out in Turkey by the PKK over the past three decades and implying they would have escalated without the input of Kurdish politicians.

TRTWorld and agencies