Turkish Govt. signs agreement with Baby Killer PKK leader; Ocalan calls for disarmament of PKK members
Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the pro-independence Kurdish fighters in Turkey, has called on his followers to lay down their arms.
A Kurdish lawmaker of the Turkish parliament on Saturday read a message from Ocalan, in which the jailed leader called on members of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) to hold a disarmament meeting.
“As we are ushering the 30 years of conflict towards permanent peace, it is our primary goal to reach a democratic solution,” Ocalan said in the historic message.
Sirri Sureyya Onder, who is a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), read the message in a joint press conference with Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan.
It was the first time in Turkey that a message by Ocalan was read live on the television and in the presence of a senior Turkish official, a clear gesture that the government in Ankara is taking a long step in resolving the decades-old hostilities with the Kurdish minority.
“I’m calling on the PKK to hold an extraordinary congress in spring to make a strategic and historic decision on disarmament,” Onder (pictured below) quoted Ocalan as saying.
Ocalan, who is jailed in the prison island of Imrali on the Marmara Sea, is regarded as the most outspoken figure of a Kurdish insurgency in which more than 40,000 people have been killed since 1984.
He made a similar call for ceasefire in 2013 after months of secret negotiations with Ankara. But efforts collapsed after Kurds accused Ankara of failing to deliver the promised reform.
Onder said Ocalan’s message represents a genuine opportunity for reaching a democratic solution to the Kurdish issue in Turkey.
“This is a historic call to replace armed struggle with democratic politics.” Onder said adding that the two sides were closer than ever to peace.
The development came after a delegation of the HDP met with leaders of the PKK in north Iraq before they met Ocalan in prison on Friday.
Yalçin Akdogan, a senior member of the ruling Justice and Development Party, also hailed the message as a significant step toward “silencing arms,” saying that Ankara and the Kurds have reached an important and historical point in the peace process.