Kurds Warn Turkey of New War
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has warned two years after declaring a unilateral ceasefire that it may resume armed operations against Turkish security forces, according to a report by The Scotsman online news service.
The PKK said it was prepared to start striking back against Turkish forces, which were inflicting "constant blows" upon them with 33 rebels killed since April. Clashes between the PKK and the Turkish military have become intermittent since captured rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan ordered the unilateral ceasefire in April 1999.
Ocalan, who has been sentenced to death by a Turkish security court on charges of treason and is awaiting the outcome of his appeal to the European Human Rights Court, had hoped that the ceasefire would prompt the government to negotiate cultural rights for the country’s estimated 12 million Kurds, said the report.
Since Ocalan’s capture in February 1999, some 5,000 PKK fighters have withdrawn into northern Iraq and Iran.
But the Turkish government has dismissed Ocalan’s strategy as an attempt to save his own neck and has vowed to wipe out the PKK, which it denounces as a terrorist organization. The government has so far done little to rebuild the war-ravaged south-eastern Turkey and to restore political stability.
Some 30,000 people have died in 16 years of fighting between the PKK and security forces in south-eastern Turkey.
AFP reported last week that a Turkish parliamentary commission had drafted a proposal to abolish the death penalty, but has made sure that condemned Ocalan remained outside its scope.
The draft, which can still be changed before reaching the general assembly for a final vote, lifts the death penalty except in times of war, an imminent threat of war and for crimes of terrorism, commission members told a press conference.
According to the agency, the "terrorism" clause was specially formulated to exclude Ocalan.
While Ocalan faces no imminent prospect of execution, the coalition's far-right Nationalist Movement Party is firmly opposed to changes that could save him from the gallows, a move also likely to spark public outrage, said the agency.
No one has been executed in Turkey since 1984 under a de facto moratorium – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)