Senior PKK figure says group not involved in fatal Ağrı clash
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULApr 15, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Apr 15, 2015 12:00 am
The accusations that the assault carried out by terrorists in Turkey's eastern Ağrı province on Saturday was an offense associated with the PKK, have been denied by Duran Kalkan, a senior figure of the group. Kalkan was responding to calls for an explanation of the clash that took place in Ağrı province on Saturday between soldiers and the outlawed PKK, which killed five terrorists. He said: "They say the PKK did it. I am the PKK administration. We made no such decision or work."
The fatal Ağrı clash between soldiers and terrorists came at a time when the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which seeks to pass the election threshold to enter Parliament, has kicked off its election campaign following the announcement of another senior figure of the outlawed PKK, Cemil Bayık, who said that the group has ended fighting, as it "has brought no gains" to either side. Bayık's statement was significant, as he has been the PKK official most unwilling to embrace the reconciliation process. However, shortly after his statement, the assault was carried out by the group, raising doubts over the sincerity of the PKK to pursue the reconciliation process, which was launched by Ankara to end the Kurdish question.
HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, who came under fire following the incident for "trying to earn votes from the east forcibly via an arms threat," strongly denied being involved in the incident and said, "If we are all supporting the reconciliation process, it is to ensure that guns fall silent and that no one is killed or wounded."
"I clearly say, we are being implicated in the Ağrı incident, but we had nothing to do with it. We made a firm decision on the matter. We have neither such a strategy nor a tactic," Duran said, speaking to a TV channel affiliated with the PKK.
He continued: "Our leader Öcalan has previously warned us; our administration has carried out discussions scores of time. We made some decisions and guerrilla acts upon a determined decision, plan and tactics. There are orders given to them to support the process Öcalan conducts." He added that he condemned whoever initiated the attack at such a sensitive phase of the reconciliation process given that it does not match with the developments of the process.
"Öcalan had warned us: He said we have to be cautious against possible attacks that could be carried out by those who are against the reconciliation, democratization and solution to the Kurdish conflict," Kalkan said.
The imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, called on the PKK to lay down their arms in his message at the Nevruz festival in March, in a landmark step, indicating that the decades-long insurgency will morph into a democratic movement and will seek Kurds' rights via democratic ways. HDP, Öcalan, and Bayık had recently been on the same wavelength over their will to abandon arms before the Ağrı incident took place, but the incident reveals two possibilities. Either there are factions in the PKK that are acting independently and refuse to comply with the orders of the senior administrations or the PKK is reluctant to renounce its decades-long habit of fighting. HDP co-chair Demirtaş is also accused of extracting an opportunity from his relationship with the PKK by forcing the locals in eastern provinces to vote for him.
Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan, who is tasked with conducting the reconciliation process, has called on the HDP to give up their provocations and return home.
"If a terrorist blends into society and carries out an activity, that is a provocation. There can be no politics as such," Akdoğan stressed. Addressing the HDP, Akdoğan said: "If you speak of democracy and politics you have to be detached from such things [provocations]. It is a dead end street to expect votes by pursuing both."