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Inside Story

Turkey and the PKK: A chance for peace?

We discuss if the PKK leader's truce statement will end decades of conflict and divisions.
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2013 15:28

"Let guns be silenced and politics dominate," said Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), as he called for a historic truce.

"This is an historic opportunity indeed; it's a bit late anouncement, because the PKK problem was born as a reaction to authoritarian policies of early 1980s, so this movement emerges as a reaction to those somehow nationalistic, somehow racist policies, of the then coup d'etat in 1980s. Turkey of today is so much different from the Turkey of the 1980s ... There was an effort to start a dialogue in Oslo, but it was sabotaged by some forces within PKK by an attack in Silvan, and this was a very big opportunity missed three years ago."

-Abdulhamit Bilici, the general manager of the Cihan News Agency in Turkey

Thousands gathered to listen to him on Thursday, as Ocalan called on his PKK fighters to put down their weapons and withdraw from Turkey.

The announcement follows months of talks with officials from the Turkish government in Ocalan's prison in the Marmara sea and is part of a peace process designed to end one of the world's longest running conflicts - one that has killed 40,000 people.

As Kurdistan celebrates its new year, can the two sides maintain peace after almost 30 years of fighting? Will this ceasefire succeed where others have failed?

Joining presenter Hazem Sika on Inside Story are guests: Abdulhamit Bilici, the general manager of the Cihan News Agency in Turkey; Ian Lesser, the senior director for Foreign and Security Policy at the German Marshall Fund, who has also written a number of books on Turkey and the Mediterranean; and Ibrahim Dogus, a Kurd and the director of the Centre for Turkey Studies and Development.

"Previous governments were not in full control of the Institutions in Turkey, so it was really difficult for them to make such a big decision, and reconcile with the Kurds go forward through a peaceful solution, and create a new alliance with the Kurdish public in Turkey, but also in other neighbouring countries for a better future of Turkey and the region, so I think purely because of that, but also because Kurds have matured, and they have realised that they have a better future to be in Turkey, or to live together with Turks."

-Ibrahim Dogus, the director of the Centre for Turkey Studies and Development

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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