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PKK threatens to end truce with Turkey - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Demonstrators hold Kurdish flags and flags with portraits of the jailed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan during a gathering to celebrate Newroz in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir March 21, 2013. Source: REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Demonstrators hold Kurdish flags and flags with portraits of the jailed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan during a gathering to celebrate Newroz in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir March 21, 2013. Source: REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) has threatened to end its truce with Ankara unless Turkey starts delivering on its promises.

PKK leader Cemîl Bayik, said: “It is time for Turkey to make real moves towards the desired peace, otherwise, the party will end its withdrawal from Turkish territory and announce the end of the peace process.”

In an article published in Azadiya Welat, a daily Kurdish newspaper in Turkey, Bayik said that September will be a “decisive month for the peace process,” adding that this would be the “final opportunity for Turkey to meet its obligations towards the peace process.”

“If the Turkish government does not make real moves, we will announce the failure of the peace process and stop the withdrawal of our fighters from Turkish territory,” he said.

He added that “everywhere in the world, when there is a conflict, there is always a time-frame to achieve peace, and we gave the Turkish side more time to make tangible moves towards peace. If it does not meet its obligations towards the peace process by the end of the current month, we will consider ourselves free from our obligations.”

A ceasefire was declared on March 21, 2013 between the Turkish government and the outlawed PKK. The PKK rebels accepted a call by jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan, to end armed struggle and withdraw from Turkey. On April 25, 2013, the PKK announced the start of the withdrawal of its forces into northern Iraq.

A PKK senior official, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said: “The PKK has been very patient with Turkey and we were hoping that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would take effective measures on the ground, but unfortunately, we see the government trying to buy more time to strengthen its presence in the areas from which our forces have withdrawn from.”

“Instead of responding to the goodwill that we have demonstrated through important steps such as the release of prisoners and unilaterally ending the fighting…we find the Turkish army exploiting our withdrawal from our positions by building bases there and recruiting Kurdish mercenaries.”

At the end of July, the PKK leadership demanded that the Turkish government side take concrete steps to advance the fragile truce before the beginning of September of face “unspecified action.”

Speaking last week, Cemîl Bayik told the BBC Turkish service that the PKK would suspend its withdrawal of guerrilla forces across the Turkish border unless the Erdoğan government begins to fulfill the promises it made as part of the second phase of the peace process.

“We will continue to make an endeavor till September 1, as is currently being done by Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish movement…however, there will be nothing left to do on our side but to suspend the withdrawal process unless the government takes steps,” he said.

“Should the Justice and Development Party government maintain its present attitude towards the process, the guerrillas who have withdrawn from Turkish borders will in the same way turn back to northern Kurdistan. This is why the government should avoid playing games,” he added.