Turkey’s Kurdish Parties Welcome Öcalan’s Peace Call
Kurdish parties in Turkey’s responded positively to a renewed call for peace by Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed-leader of the PKK
Öcalan said in a message delivered by his brother to a crowd of supporters in Diyarbakır on Monday that his party would take the initiative for peace, and he asked the Turkish government to follow suit. He said peace could be achieved “within six months” if the Turkish government were sincere.
A group of 50 politicians and supporters from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has since ended a hunger strike announced about two weeks ago.
They went on hunger strike to put pressure on the government to allow for Öcalan’s family to visit him in prison. The strike followed rumors that leaders of the failed July 15 coup in Turkey wanted to harm Öcalan.
The Kurdish Rights and Freedoms Party (HAK-PAR), a small nationalist party which is often at odds with HDP and PKK but keeps friendly ties with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said it welcomes any calls for peace.
“The war has destroyed our country. Our people have been damaged. Therefore, let the war stop in whatever way possible… let’s open the political door. Let’s leave the political democratic door open,” HAK-PAR president Refik Karakoç told Rudaw
The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984, and since then an estimated 40,000 people have been killed, many of them in Turkey’s southeast.
The Turkish government and the PKK were negotiating a peace deal that began in 2013, when the conflict resumed in mid-2015.