19 Sep 2013 – Kurdistan Tribune – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced yesterday that he will reveal the Turkish government’s ‘democracy package’ before the end of September. These details were expected some weeks ago, as part of the peace process that began in January.
The KCK (Kurdish Communities Union) responded last week to the delay by announcing a halt to the withdrawal of PKK guerrilla forces across the Turkish border. However, it also said that the PKK’s ceasefire, which began on Newroz Day (21st March), would be maintained. According to a KCK statement:“The reason why the ceasefire is being respected is to offer the AKP [the ruling party in Turkey] the opportunity to take steps in line with the project of Apo [the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan]”.
Many Kurds have voiced their concerns that the peace process has been one-sided, with the government failing to match the PKK’s concessions. The KCK has criticised the government for building more military posts and employing more village guards in the Kurdish region during the ceasefire and for continuing to detain thousands of Kurdish political prisoners. ‘Today’s Zaman’ has reported that the government’s package is unlikely to include key concessions that the PKK and BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) are pressing for, including autonomy for the Kurdish region, house arrest for the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and the right to education in Kurdish.