PKK Hides Behind a Unilateral Ceasefire and Shields Itself with Iraqi Kurdistan
A political wing of the PKK today released a statement proposing conditional ceasefire with Turkey. The statement was released through the European based and sympathetic Kurdish media group, Firat News Agency.
The statement follows a series of attacks that have seen the death civilians and soldiers in Turkey. The latest attack killed 12 or more Turkish troops, while another 8 were taken prisoner. The PKK is unlikely to score such a victory again in the near future, and Turkey has yet to take military action against the PKK in northern Iraq. So, it’s not suprising that the PKK would suddenly want to unilaterally call for a ceasefire, and then likely accuse Turkey of aggression if and when it responds militarily.
The statement generally supports a pan-Kurdish or at least an Iraqi-Turkish zone of Kurdish nationality, and has been spun as a response that has come about due to the political insistence of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Presenting KRG dialogue with the PKK as a primary reasons for an offer of conditional surrender is likely designed to articulate cross-border Kurdish partnership between the PKK and the KRG. Evidence of this is shown in PKK promise to defend Iraqi Kurdistan in the event of a Turkish incursion. Their use of the term “our people” is ambiguous enough to be applied either to PKK members or to Iraqi Kurds. In this way, the PKK is trying to express their solidarity with the KRG, and so articulate their sense that an attack on the PKK bases in Iraq is also equivalent to an attack on the KRG itself. It’s easy for the PKK to make unilateral claims of unconditional solidarity with the KRG when they can only gain from such an arrangement.
The PKK also demands ethnic and cultural recognition of Kurds within Turkey, as well as demands for the Turkish state to more readily allow if not support Kurdish political representation in Turkey’s parliament, free of prejudice or harassment. The statement effectively demands that Turkish-Kurdistan have greater political and cultural autonomy, something that is strongly opposed by the Turkish governments ever since the fall of the Ottoman Empire following the First World War.
Effectively, the PKK is making conditions it doesn’t believe Turkey can support while trying to maneuver Turkey into a position of international isolation by daring it to allow Kurds to democratically choose their own political future while also identifying the PKK’s cause as one and the same with Iraq’s Kurds. The PKK hopes to ride the KRG’s political success, especially in the field of internationally popularizing the possibility of a viable Kurdish state.
PUK Media quotes the Kurdistani Community Organization’s statement:
We call for the simplest human rights of the Kurdish people, such as recognition of its Kurdish identity and allow it to enjoy exercising cultural and political work freely. Finding a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue in the region will be an important step towards the development of democracy and stability in the region. As an initiative from as to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue in Turkey, we frequently declared unilateral cease-fires, but the response of successive Turkish governments and the Turkish army was by iron and fire ,operations , large and intense military campaigns in Kurdistan, involving thousands of military troops backed by all types of conventional weapons.
…What is taking place now of clashes in the area are the result of Turkish policies and thinking of denying Kurdish people issue in Turkey, and we believe the entry of some representatives to the Turkish Parliament is a great opportunity for the Turkish government to develop the dialogue and find a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish issue, but unfortunately, we have not seen so far by the government of the Justice and Development Party only indictments , threats to these representatives ,the arrest of some Kurdish mayors and putting them in jail only because they spoke in the Kurdish language. They have not been content with that, but merely issued a note to attack on the Iraqi Kurdistan region, while the Kurdistan region of Iraq has its official existence at the Iraqi and international levels, while the leaders of the region are only demanding political and peaceful solutions to the Kurdish issue.
…At the time, we declare our readiness to defend our people and its issue we stress that we always prefer a peaceful and democratic solution, through civilized methods, so we extend the hand of peace once again, we are ready to discuss the issue and to negotiate with others to solve this issue. Besides, we are asking the Turkish side to stop its military operations and do not interference in Kurdistan region of Iraq, if Turkey persisted in its hostility against the Kurdish people we will have to defend ourselves and our people.