Demirtas: Two major challenges lie ahead for PKK to lay down arms

Demirtas: Two major challenges lie ahead for PKK to lay down arms
Update: 18 July 2022 12:24
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The government should persuade the PKK to cease fire and the only way to do this is putting an end to the isolation of PKK leader Ocalan, he said.

Jailed Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas once more dismissed any connections between HDP (People’s Democratic Party) and PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) but offered dialogue and negotiation instead of military operations to find a peaceful solution to Kurdish question.

Former HDP co-chair, in an interview with T24 web site, said that he would be happy to see PKK lay down its arms but two major obstacles were in the way. “First, the government does not view any options other than military operations. However, we argue that the PKK should be persuaded. There, the second obstacle arises. The only person who can persuade the PKK is Ocalan, and he has been kept in isolation for years,” he said. 

“A substantial part of the society lives in fear that Turkey will be divided as a result of terrorism. The government constantly provokes these fears and directs the anger towards the HDP, turning it into a scapegoat,” Demirtas said.

He added: “HDP should send more messages of unity and peace to make its stance visible. We have to say this a couple of times a day: we will bring peace to the country and end the violence permanently”

Main opposition parties recently speculated that the government will try to talk to Ocalan to have an advantage ahead of elections. About those speculations, Demirtas said: “If the government talks to Ocalan for an armistice, it would be doing the right thing. It would be morally and politically wrong to oppose peace talk just because it will bring votes to the AKP (Justice and Development Party).”

Demirtas also reiterated that the main opposition parties and HDP should agree on a joint presidential candidate in next year’s elections but hinted that he could also run defying the court rule that gave him a political ban because of his conviction of “terrorism propaganda”. 

Demirtas was the presidential candidate of the HDP and took nearly 10 percent of the votes in the 2014 presidential election in Turkey.