The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will end its armed struggle in Turkey barring serious provocations which could derail the solution process, a former leader of the group said Friday.
“Unless there are serious provocations which could change the agenda completely, the PKK leadership will declare at the upcoming congress that they are ending their armed struggle in Turkey, and laying down their weapons in response to Ocalan’s call,” Nizamettin Tas told the Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview in the capital of the Iraqi Kurdish region.
Sirri Sureyya Onder, a deputy of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democracy Party, or HDP, announced last Saturday that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, was invited by its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan to meet in the spring to reach common ground on ending the more than 30-year conflict.
The call for disarmament came after a meeting between HDP lawmakers and government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan, marking a major point in the so-called solution process, referring to the government initiative launched in 2013 aimed at ending the decades-old conflict with the terrorist group.
“PKK’s leaders have already declared that they embrace Ocalan’s call. The congress will definitely happen,” Tas said, adding that suspending, postponing or rejecting the call was out of the question as “there is no force in Qandil which would oppose Ocalan’s decision.”
However, Tas said that the decision to lay down weapons applies to Turkey only, and the group would not dissolve its guerilla forces, and stop fighting in other territories.
Mount Qandil is a region known to be the headquarters of the PKK, which is listed by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union as a terrorist organization.
Its militants have fought for an independent Kurdish state since 1984, and the bloody insurgency has claimed around 36,000 lives in Turkey.