Call for disarmament yields positive results in southeastern Turkey
by Sena Alkan
ISTANBULMar 12, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Sena Alkan
Mar 12, 2015 12:00 am
Following the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's call on the PKK to lay down its arms, intelligence from the region say that some steps have been taken toward disarmament despite the unclear response to the call from the PKK leadership in Iraq's Qandil Mountains.
According to the intelligence information shared at a reconciliation summit chaired by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, small arms used by "serhildan" – a Kurdish term for protesters – in Kurdish towns, Molotov cocktails and stones and some ammunition and heavy weapons used in large-scale demonstrations have been taken across the border.
The intelligence information also said that the PKK's youth branch, the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), which was involved in the October 6-7 Kobani demonstrations that morphed into violent clashes between anti- and pro-PKK groups in southeastern provinces, has ceased its demonstrations. Actions such as throwing Molotov cocktails and forestalling have stopped.
In the past weeks, Öcalan called for the PKK to lay down its arms. Öcalan's message was shared with the public by the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) at a press conference. The press conference took place after Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan held talks at the prime minister's office in Istanbul with the HDP committee, including HDP Vice Chair İdris Baluken and HDP Deputies Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Pervin Buldan, on the reconciliation process. Both sides emphasized the importance of a cease-fire and said that Turkey is closer to peace than ever before.
The intelligence information stated that the PKK did not lay down all its arms, and there are still some weapons being stored by the organization in certain regions.
Precautions taken by the police and the Domestic Security Reform Package, which aims to balance freedom and security, has been described by the government as having a direct effect in preventing protests around the region, according to the intelligence information. However, the HDP had formerly described the bill as a "hampering factor" for the reconciliation process.
The reconciliation process was initiated by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and began when a cease-fire was signed between the government and the PKK in 2013, followed by a series of democratic reforms to improve and uphold the rights of Turkey's Kurdish population. It is reported that over 50 percent of people in the country are in favor of the initiative.
Even though negotiations between Ankara and the HDP as mediator have stalled a few times, especially after the October 6-7 Kobani protests erupted in the southeast after the HDP made a call for street protests, both sides showed determination to solve Turkey's long-ongoing Kurdish issue. The PKK has fought for an independent Kurdish state since 1984 and its attacks have claimed around 36,000 lives in Turkey.