PKK plans 100 protests a day, expecting action from gov’t

25 August 2013 /TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL – The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is planning to hold 100 street demonstrations a day in Turkey’s southeastern provinces after Sept. 1, according to the Zaman daily’s Sunday issue.

Cemil Bayık, co-president of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan Communities’ Union (KCK) — a PKK umbrella group — told Rohani TV, a Kurdish channel, in late July that “if the government fails to take action by Sept. 1, the cease-fire between Turkey and the PKK will be broken.”

He has also threatened to suspend the settlement process between the government and the terrorist group. The process saw the PKK begin withdrawing its forces from Turkey on May 8 — a result of talks between government officials and imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan aimed at ending Turkey’s long-standing armed conflict with the PKK.

The group has been waiting some time now for a democratization package of legal reforms, and says that the ball is in the government’s court after they took the steps of calling a cease-fire and starting their withdrawal. The new intelligence reports contain details on Bayık’s strategy, including plans for 100 protests a day and nearly 1,000 protests a week. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US, and the intelligence report characterizes the shift in tactics as an attempt to change the group’s image through civilian-staged, Western-style protests similar to those that upended Middle Eastern power structures during the Arab Spring.

The intelligence reports say that the PKK doesn’t want to be perceived as breaking off the settlement process, and is seeking to use street protests against the government’s inaction on the settlement process as a way to get things moving by bringing the issue to the attention of Western countries.The organization’s leaders in Europe will, the reports say, try to convince the EU that Ankara didn’t take the required steps toward democratization and is responsible for the stalemate in the settlement process. The intelligence reports were discussed during last week’s National Security Council (MGK) meeting — held under the supervision of President Abdullah Gül — in an assessment of the settlement process.