Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat- Turkey has welcomed the peace initiative put forward by Kurdish leader Massod Barzani, who recently visited Turkey, while a leading figure in the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK] announced his party’s acceptance of the initiative, but put the final decision in the hands of its jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan to declare a new initiative for stopping the fighting.
Ruz Walat, the head of the PKK’s media office, told Asharq Al-Awsat that he welcomed the efforts of the Kurdistan Region president to stop the fighting between the party’s fighters and Turkish army so as to give the achievement of peace in Turkey a chance. He stressed that the “PKK will not attack the Turkish army but keeps its right to retaliate if the Turkish forces launched attacks on the party’s positions and fighters.”
The PKK leader said: “President Barzani’s visit to Turkey was a positive step and his statements during it were important and we welcome them. On our part, we underline our support for the peace message Barzani carried to Turkey and support solving the Kurdish issue in a peaceful way but not according to the conditions that the Turkish leadership is imposing on us. This is not the first or second time that Turkey negotiated to achieve peace but the Turkish leadership disclaims its obligations toward all the initiatives and peaceful efforts exerted by several parties for achieving peace. We hope that Barzani’s visit will be tantamount to the final solution for the conflict, stop the fighting, and move toward peace.” He pointed out that “our party has the same stand as Barzani and his wish to achieve peace. But we must ask about the guarantees. The Turkish Government has not taken so far any positive, practical, and concrete steps for solving the Kurdish issue and is even not allowing the lawyers to visit our party leader in his jail. If the Turkish Government is serious about achieving peace and ending the conflict, then it must allow these lawyers to reach our jailed leader who has repeatedly announced his call for peace. If Ocalan demands a ceasefire, then we are ready to comply with it. But if Turkey insists on chasing the Kurds inside, jailing them, harassing our leader, and continuing its fight against us, then we will have no choice other than defending ourselves and our people’s cause.”