Ocalan says could convince militants to return home

Before any legal guarantee, the PKK chief says, any call on the militants to return to the country means demanding an actual surrender

Ocalan says could convince militants to return home

The imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has said he could convince PKK militants who are currently taking shelter in mountain bases in northern Iraq to return home as part of the settlement process aimed at ending the three-decades-old Kurdish question and terror problem.

In a letter disclosed by pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Chairman Selahattin Demirtas, PKK chief Abdullah Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence in a prison on Imralı -- an island on the Marmara Sea -- stated that he could significantly contribute to efforts to persuade war-weary militants who have been staging an armed struggle against the Turkish state to set up an autonomous region in southeastern Turkey.

The PKK had announced a unilateral cease-fire in March upon a request from Ocalan to pave the way for a political solution through negotiations with the Turkish government to end the armed conflict.

But in early September the group declared that it had halted the withdrawal of its forces from Turkish soil to northern Iraq, criticizing the Turkish government for failing to address the demands of Kurds.

Ocalan has called on the government to adopt a new law allowing for the safe return home of militants who haven't been involved in violent acts. Before any legal guarantee, the PKK chief says, any call on the militants to return to the country means demanding an actual surrender.

Dismissing such an option as impractical and unacceptable, Ocalan said the Turkish state should provide a legal means that eases the return of militants.

He also renewed his earlier plea for access to media along with much easier communication with the outside world, Kurdish politicians and with the PKK leadership in northern Iraq in order to take a more active role in the settlement process.

Demirtas said Ocalan's demands are not unfeasible requests from the government. The BDP chairman insisted that the Turkish government should respond positively to Ocalan's call if it really wants to keep the fragile settlement process on track amid mounting signs of discontent among the PKK establishment.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has previously said there is currently no plan for a bill to lay the groundwork for the disarming of the PKK and the return home of militants.

Cihan

Last Mod: 26 Ekim 2013, 12:44
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