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PKK senior figure voices criticism of Erdogan - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A protester holds a flag depicting jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan as a van burns during clashes at the Taksim Square in Istanbul Tuesday, June 11, 2013.Hundreds of riot police overran improvised barricades at Istanbul's Taksim Square on Tuesday, firing tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons in running battles with protesters who have been occupying the area for more than a week. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda.)

A protester holds a flag depicting jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan as a van burns during clashes at the Taksim Square in Istanbul Tuesday, June 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda.)

Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—A senior figure from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) told Asharq Al-Awsat that the pledges the Turkish Prime Minister Reccep Tayyib Erdogan had made are no more than “early election propaganda.”

Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, Zagros Hiwa, a member of the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), said: “Once elections end, Erdogan will go back on all of his pledges and calls to open up as well as solve the Kurdish issue by democratic and peaceful means.”

“Erdogan will once again bring the country into a bloody conflict which Turkey has suffered from for over four decades and caused tens of thousands of victims”, he added.

Zagros’ comments came after Erdogan announced that the Turkish government will present the parliament with a number of draft laws aimed at meeting some of the political and cultural demands of the Kurds.

Zagros told Asharq Al-Awsat that Erdogan’s pledges are out of touch with reality and that “the Turkish army is currently taking advantage of the vacuum left by our fighters’ withdrawal from the Turkish territories by sending more reinforcements and renewing the camps and military sites as well as recruiting large numbers of mercenary Kurds.”

“This is a certain sign the Turkish government has no intention to go ahead with the peace process which our detained leader Abdullah Ocalan had proposed,” he added.

According to Zagros, these recent steps are definite “signs of war” and an attempt by the Turkish government to renew military attacks against Kurdish fighters.

Regarding the draft laws which Erdogan claimed the government would submit to the parliament, Zagros wondered: “What laws can Erdogan present to the parliament to grant national rights to our people!? In the main law of the government there are obvious articles that ban the use of the Kurdish language and culture.”

“Election law does not allow Kurds to stand for elections on the basis of their nationality,” he added.

Zagros also slammed Erdogan for not taking any serious steps towards the peace process insisting that “tens of thousands of [Kurdish] political prisoners of whom a large number are sick have not been released from Turkish prisons yet.”

As for the Kurdish side, Zagros said: “We have fulfilled all of the pledges we gave our leader Ocalan. We have released prisoners, stopped fighting and avoided responding to the Turkish army’s provocations.”

The member of the KCK concluded his comments by saying that “Erdogan is trying to deceive the Kurdish people by promising to resolve the Kurdish issue but it needs successive steps and this we have not seen neither from Erdogan nor his government.”

“We have run out of patience and therefore we can no longer wait and procrastinate,” he said, adding that unless the Turkish government takes serious measures towards the peace process by September, the country’s Kurds will return to war.