PKK’s jailed leader Öcalan threatens government with war

The jailed leader of  Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), sentenced to life imprisonment on an island in the Marmara Sea, has given the government until June 15 to accept the PKK’s demands, threatening war if there are no improvements by this date.

PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan’s messages, delivered during a meeting he had on Wednesday last week with his lawyers, were posted online on a PKK-affiliated website on Saturday. “The process will evolve into either a major agreement or a major war after June 15. If there is a huge war, the government won’t last even three months,” Öcalan was quoted as having told his lawyers. He said currently there are two blocs in Turkish politics, which he described as the nationalist/neo-nationalist bloc represented by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP), and the Islamist-Turkist bloc represented by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

“The bloc we have developed is a democratic bloc based on democratic socialism, and not on nationalism, religion or ethnicity. This is a third way, which I have been talking about for years.”

Warning to the US

He said the summer months were crucial. “This summer is very important. We are entering a summer that is of historic importance as it will see some firsts. I have been reining this in for the past 18 years, cooling down the war, so to speak. I am warning the US. They should know that times have changed. The Kurds aren’t the Kurds they were used to be, and I am no Şeyh Sait,” he said, referring to an activist who led a Kurdish uprising in the ‘30s. “Nothing can stand in the way of the Kurdish fight for freedom. They always brought those who have wanted to start uprisings to this island [İmralı] throughout history. They hoped that they would be able to suppress uprisings by leaving them here to die.”

Öcalan also spoke about his ongoing talks on İmralı with a delegation of representatives of the Turkish state. He said serious institutions of the state were represented in the group, noting that they had the power to exert an influence; however, the delegation at the moment does not wield much influence, Öcalan said.

“The talks we are having here are important and serious. The delegation that talks to me is aware of this, and this awareness is growing day by day. I want to be cautious in this. I don’t want to take one-sided steps. I can’t say I am hopeful or not,” the PKK leader stated.

He also said they have come close to solving the Kurdish question in the past during talks held in the time of former Prime Ministers Turgut Özal and Bülent Ecevit, but these were stalled, and he was intent on not forgetting about past experiences in negotiating with the Turkish state. He also warned of an impending civil war in Turkey between Kurds and Turks if his demands weren’t met by June 15, although he didn’t specify what demands had been relayed to the delegation with which he is negotiating.

Today’s Zaman

15 May 2011

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