Karayılan pledges no support for independent Kurdish state

26 April 2013 /TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL – Chief of the armed wing of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Murat Karayılan has pledged that his organization will not support an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq as they are against a nation-state.

Karayılan told reporters in the Kandil Mountains, a PKK stronghold on the Iran border in northern Iraq, that his organization will say nothing if an independent Kurdish state is carved out in the northern part of Iraq but they won’t support the state either. Karayılan’s remarks came on the day when he announced a timeline for the withdrawal of PKK members from Turkey, starting on May 8, as part of a settlement process to end the nearly 30-year conflict that has left more than 40,000 people dead.

Karayılan was referring to a recent spat between Arbil, the capital of the Kurdistan autonomous region in northern Iraq, and Baghdad over oil payments that has transformed into a full-scale dispute. The leadership of Kurdistan frequently floats the idea of independence in case what they call Baghdad’s “authoritarian practices” continue against Arbil. The armies of both sides have briefly clashed along the line of contact in several cities in the past few months and tensions are running high due to an oil pipeline Kurdistan is planning to build to Turkey.

Karayılan’s statement also illustrated the prevailing mistrust between the PKK and the regional authority, which has been allied with Turkey to curb the clout of the terrorists in northern Iraq for nearly 20 years now.

Karayılan said the PKK wants all nations to live equally in the Middle East and have brotherly coexistence in a democratic society. He said this could be achieved through a democratic confederation or a federation. “Nation-states have dictators,” Karayılan claimed, referring to a likelihood of creating an authoritarian state in nation-states.

Legal reforms likely to succeed withdrawal

Meanwhile, there were reports that PKK’s withdrawal will be followed by democratic reforms on the part of the government in the second phase of the withdrawal plan, some sources have said. The NTV news website reported on Friday that the completion of the PKK’s withdrawal is treated as constituting the first leg of the settlement process. The second leg of the process will see a series of legal amendments to democratize Turkey. There will be legal improvements to prevent violations of the right to life, to end torture and abuse, end violations of the right to security, complete trials in a reasonable time, to enforce judicial decisions and protect property rights. There will also be Constitutional amendments.  The third phase is referred to as when the PKK lays down arms completely and the threat of terrorism is completely eradicated. In the third phase, the Turkish government is expected to either overhaul the country’s Counterterrorism Law (TMK) or abolish this law completely. The evacuation of the Mahmour Camp — for Kurdish refugees from Turkey in northern Iraq and the Kandil camp, the PKK’s current base in northern Iraq — will also be carried out in the third stage of the settlement process.

A source close to the Prime Ministry did not confirm or deny the reports, but said it was true that the government was planning democratizing moves. The same bureaucrat said the person behind the reports about the three phases of PKK disarmament has made a “correct reading” of the situation.

Another source confirmed that a three-step plan has indeed been decided on for the settlement process and the PKK has agreed to the plan.

Meanwhile, security forces and intelligence units will be doing their best to guarantee people’s safety against possible provocative attacks or actions during the withdrawal process. Measures were discussed during a National Security Council (MGK) meeting on Wednesday. The National Intelligence Agency (MİT) has set up an observation office in northern Iraq to ensure the withdrawal moves along smoothly. Source say the PKK militants will pass through two safety corridors providing them with access to the Hakurk and Haftanin regions of Northern Iraq. Those in Diyarbakır, Mardin and Şırnak will exit via Haftanin and those in Ağrı and Hakkari will exit via Hakurk. Later, the militants will be escorted by the Peshmerga to Kandil. A second phase in talks is then expected to start. This part will try to tackle problems of how PKK members could be reintegrated into society, and the resettlement of higher PKK members in European countries.

Meanwhile, BDP Muş deputy Sırrı Sakık criticized segments of society who are against the settlement process on the grounds that it might lead to the disintegration of the country. “We are trying to create a democratic republic, a strong country in this country where the Mesopotamian and Anatolian cultures meet. This is the country of the peoples of Turkey. There is no need to look for another country.”;jsessionid=0B5E2F1D9F165378A49B7D491B2E1B1E?newsId=313744&columnistId=0