PKK withdrawal to start in eight to 10 days: BDP deputy Önder

ISTANBUL – 21.4.2013 – The withdrawal of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants from Turkish soil may start within eight to 10 days, the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder told daily Hürriyet in an interview published April 20.

 Önder, who joined most of the parliamentary delegations carrying letters between the PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan and the organization’s military headquarters in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq, said important preparations were being made to ensure that the withdrawal is completed in a secure environment. “All the factions constituting the Kurdistan Communities Union [KCK – the alleged urban wing of the PKK] are very determined to put into practice Öcalan’s proposition and consolidate it,” he said.

Önder also added that an educational program was being developed to assist the transition of PKK cadres into civil politics. Asked if the leaders of the PKK were “hopeful,” Önder said they were confident in their organization. “What the public can’t see about the matter is this: They are not only fighters. They are insightful enough to almost build a life from zero and have hope in humanity,” he said. A separate report in daily Radikal also stated that the withdrawal could start next week. The newspaper’s Ankara reporter Deniz Zeyrek wrote that the PKK had started preparations after Öcalan gave assurances in a letter delivered last week. “The executive council of the PKK gathered on April 18 and gave orders to complete the withdrawal plans in the shortest possible timeframe,” the report said.