A PKK leader has threatened local Kurds living in the Sur district of southeastern Diyarbakır province, saying they cannot work in the reconstruction process of the conflict-ridden district.
Speaking on a pro-PKK channel Mustafa Karasu said that all building contractors and workers are targets and "Kurds there should not consider them [the workers] civilians.
"You cannot be a civilian like that. There is no way to say ‘I am civilian and working because I have no job.' You cannot work there." Writing for the Azadiya Welat daily under the pseudonym "Hüseyin Ali," Karasu criticized recent calls from members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic People (HDP) to restart the reconciliation process. "Even saying the reconciliation process should be restarted or that this problem should be solved through negotiations every now and then has a political meaning; it has no practical value," he said.
"Right now, instead of wasting time by creating expectations with such remarks, the struggle against this kind of political massacre should be stepped up," he asserted.
Having blamed the HDP for not doing enough to prevent mayors from the party's regional affiliate Democratic Regions Party (DBP) from being arrested, Karasu pointed to slack policies. "Actually, until now the HDP and BDP had adopted a slack and incorrect attitude on political massacre operations.
HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş and Ankara deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder in late March requested a return to the reconciliation process between the PKK and the Turkish state. Demirtaş repeated his party's request in an interview with Deutsche Welle on April 13, saying: "Weapons should be silenced so we can talk about a solution in the political arena. It is not really possible to speak of peace in the political arena so long as there are deaths, protests, military operations and the PKK's bombings and attacks."
The government, however, has been very staunch in not returning to the reconciliation process. Despite calls from the PKK and affiliated political figures for a return to reconciliation, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in early April that there will be neither negotiations nor anything to talk about for the Turkish state.
The PKK restarted their war with security forces, after announcing the end to the two-and-a-half-year cease-fire with the state in July. The conflict has caused the deaths of hundreds of civilians and ruined many historical and cultural landmarks in the southeast region.
Parts of Sur listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites were particularly badly hit. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said earlier this month that Sur would be restored and Diyarbakır's stalled economy reinvigorated after the anti-terror operations. "Whatever happens, the fight against terrorism will be conducted determinedly, and we will not stop until each street of Diyarbakır and every home in Sur finds peace and security," he said.
Late on April 14, Parliament passed a bill to restore the Sur district, bringing the leaders' pledges to restore the area closer to fulfillment. On April 11, Erdoğan reiterated the government's determination to rebuild areas in the southeast, where counterterror operations to clear the region of the PKK have ended.