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Kurdistan: PKK leaders expected to return to Turkey - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In this July 13, 2013 file photo, Kurds sit next to a banner that reads " government, take steps " during a protest in Ankara, Turkey. Kurdish rebels on Friday gave Turkey a "final warning" to take steps that would move forward peace talks aimed at ending a 30-year old conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File.)

In this July 13, 2013, file photo, Kurds sit next to a banner that reads “Government, take steps” during a protest in Ankara, Turkey. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File.)

Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—Kurdish youth and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leaders are expected to return to Turkey to participate in the country’s political process in a step marking the third stage of the Turkish–Kurdish peace process, deputy chief of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Pervin Buldan was quoted by Istanbul’s Radikal newspaper as saying.

“The peace process is ongoing. . . . We will enter the third and final stage, which is the most important one. This stage will witness the return of our youth and the PKK leaders from Mount Qandil to Turkey in order to participate in the political process.”

Buldan expressed her thanks to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government for supporting the formation of a Kurdish state in “Western Kurdistan,” in Syria. She also expressed hope that “Turkey’s Kurds will soon obtain similar freedom.”

A senior figure in the PKK who spoke on the condition of anonymity denied reports that Turkey was providing any sort of support to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syrian Kurdistan.

“There seems to be a misunderstanding by the Kurdish leader [Buldam] and Turkey may have reluctantly agreed to the PYD assuming temporary control over and administering the domestic affairs in Syrian Kurdistan,” the senior PKK leader said.

“To the contrary, Turkey is clearly conspiring against this party [the PYD],” he said.

Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, Diyar Qamishlo, a member of the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK) revealed: “There are many documented signs Turkey is obviously supporting fighters from the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who have poured into the Kurdish areas in Syria to abort the popular revolution there.”

Qamishlo also added that wounded radical Islamist fighters are transferred to Turkey for treatment.

“Turkey has become a passageway for hundreds of Al-Qaeda-linked fighters coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries to the Kurdish territories in Syria,” he added.

Qamishlo stressed that the Islamists’ agenda aims at wreaking havoc in the region and that Turkey “fails to realize that this will cause enormous damage to it before the rest of region in the event these extremists manage to dominate the region.”

He also referred to “the massacres committed in Tell Aran and Tell Hasel that killed dozens of children, women and the elderly,” adding that “such massacres expose these extremists’ agendas and their evil aims by fanning the sectarian and racist flames in the region contrary to the Kurdish forces that take into account the conditions of thousands of Arab residents in Kuridish-held areas in Syrian Kurdistan.”

He also appealed to the international community to “not tolerate these heinous massacres committed against civilians,” adding, “The presence of those extremists in the region will tarnish the image of the Syrian revolution, which in the first place erupted against dictatorship and the authority’s oppression.”

Responding to Buldan’s comments, Qamishlo slammed the Turkish government for failing to fulfill its commitments towards the peace process, such as releasing political prisoners and making constitutional amendments aimed at recognizing the Kurds’ political and cultural rights.

“Erdoğan’s party is procrastinating in order to gain more time, particularly since Turkey is facing three important elections: parliamentary, presidential and municipal ones. Therefore, this party [the AKP] seeks to gain more time so as not to jeopardize itself in the elections.”

He urged the Turkish government to take more tangible steps towards ensuring a more active Kurdish participation in the country’s political process.

The Kurdish–Turkish peace process that started last May consists of three stages: first, stopping fighting and releasing prisoners; second, withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from Turkish territories; and, finally, allowing Kurdish youth and leaders to return to Turkey in a bid to participate in the country’s political process.