Deputy PKK Commander: Turkey Has Stopped the Peace Process

By RUDAW – 19.1.2013 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Mustafa Karasu, deputy commander of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said on Friday that Turkey “has literally stopped the peace process.” “We did what we had to do,” said Karasu. “But now we have stopped withdrawing our guerrillas. We will not give up our struggle on mere words from Turkey.”

Karasu, an ethnic Turk who is also known as Huseyin Ali, reacted to a decision by Turkey’s Ministry of Justice last week that barred Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) from visiting the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

“The BDP is an important party in Turkey and its leader cannot be removed from the delegation list just because he has criticized Turkey,” said Karasu.

Demirtas, Kurdish MP Idris Baluken and Pervin Buldan were due to arrive at Imarli island to meet with Ocalan. “The Turkish government degrades the Kurds in every possible way, but when the PKK or the BDP do the slightest criticism of Turkey, they face all kinds of hostility,” Karasu added. BDP leaders have acted as mediators in the peace process between the PKK and Ankara. “The BDP will do whatever it can to make the process work,” said party leader Demirtas before visiting the PKK bases in the Qandil mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan last month.   Demirtas is an outspoken critic of the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He has accused Ankara of backtracking on its promises to grant full Kurdish rights and release hundreds of Kurdish activists from prison. “If we put ourselves at the mercy of the Turkish government, Turkey will annihilate all the Kurds,” said Karasu.

Karasu’s statement echoes the view of the PKK leadership who believe Turkey hasn’t played its part of the bargain in the peace process that was initiated by Ocalan on the Kurdish New Year (Newroz) in March. “If Turkey wants peace, then it should take the necessary steps,” PKK commander Cemil Bayik told reporters in August. We will stop the withdrawal of our guerillas and send back the ones that already withdrew,” Bayik warned. “If Turkey rejects peace and desires war, then the PKK has the right to defend itself. We are ready for everything,” he vowed. – See more at: