FIRST OR LAST FINAL WARNING ? : PKK issues ‘final warning’ amid potential deadlock

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News – 20.7.2013 – The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government will be “responsible for the deadlock the process faces unless concrete steps are taken as soon as possible,” according to a statement released by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on July 19, as both sides continue to accuse one another of sabotaging the slow-burning process.

In what the organization called a “final warning,” the PKK’s urban wing, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) accused the ruling party of sabotaging the peace process by “failing to take concrete steps,” according to a statement released through the Fırat news agency, which is known to have close links to the PKK.

The outlawed organization mentioned jailed PKK leader Abudllah Öcalan’s reported health problems and claimed Öcalan needed medical treatment, which the Turkish government was not acting on. The Justice Ministry, however, quickly took to Twitter to deny the claims, citing in-depth medical examinations of the jailed PKK leader that took place on July 16. KCK further accused the AKP of supporting armed groups to the north of Syria, which are currently clashing with Kurdish militants. In addition, the statement said Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) representatives were unable to visit Öcalan once every two weeks, and also added that the latest letter from the organization had failed to reach the jailed PKK leader.The KCK also complained of government initiatives with regard to the construction of military posts and dams, and accused government officials and Turkish media outlets of working to sabotage the process.

Fear of deadlock

Murat Karayılan, the former leader of the PKK and newly appointed leader of its armed wing, the People’s Defense Forces (HPG), had previously said the peace process between Turkey and the PKK may see a deadlock next week “if Turkey fails to take a step forward.”

“The prisons are full of Kurdish politicians. This is a fact putting the process in a tight spot. Everybody should know that the following week is very important. If the attitude of the Turkish state continues as it is now, the process will be blocked up. It’s not blocked now, but it’s on the way to being blocked,” Karayılan said on July 11. Days after Karayılan’s remarks, AKP deputy and the prime minister’s chief political advisor Yalçın Akdoğan accused PKK of staging a “theatre play” to reflect an impression of authority in the southeastern provinces. “We know already, as the AKP, that the PKK has blocked previous attempts as well through certain kinds of sabotages. There is, however, a government in charge now that is attentive to that,” he told Anadolu Agency. Akdoğan also said that despite the PKK withdrawal, the organization’s continuing illegal acts – such as kidnappings, exerting pressure, blocking roads, and extortion – conflicted with the “spirit of the process” and severely damaged peace attempts.

He added that the PKK was trying to conjure up a false image of authority by spreading disinformation and was attempting to break down public support for the process. Speaking of two recent incidents over the last few weeks, the leaking of footage of the so-called security team in Cizre, and the opening of PKK cemetery in Diyarbakır, Akdoğan said both stories could be aiming at “bring down public support for the process.”