Ocalan: Turkey Failed to Fully Understand Peace Calls
Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has accused Turkey of failing to fully comprehend the calls he and his Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) made for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict.
"The state and some groups of the society were not able to thoroughly understand my appeal for peace," Ocalan said in a statement released by his lawyers Thursday, a day after the first anniversary of his call on the PKK to lay down its arms.
"The appeal has served for peace, but it has not become comprehensive," Ocalan said.
Clashes in Turkey's mainly-Kurdish southeast have notably slowed down since last September when the rebels followed Ocalan's calls and said they were ending their 15-year war on Ankara to pursue a democratic struggle.
But Turkey played down the peace bid as a ploy. The powerful Turkish military continues to hunt the rebels saying that they should either surrender or face the army.
"Although that the PKK has mostly acted in line with my appeal, a sufficient progress has not been recorded due to the lack of an appropriate climate and appropriate legal arrangements," Ocalan said.
Ankara has so far been reluctant to grant the Kurds cultural rights such as broadcast and education in Kurdish, even though it has come under increasing pressure to improve its human rights record to promote its candidacy for European Union membership, declared last December.
Ocalan called on the government to announce a general amnesty for PKK militants "if the trend of decreased violence is to be transformed into a process of full disarmament."
Ocalan also criticized the Kurds for not being "creative enough" in the peace process and the PKK for failing to eradicate sentiments of "primitive nationalism" among the Kurds.
The PKK leader was sentenced to death in June last year for treason and separatism, but in January Ankara put on hold his execution until the European Court of Human Rights rules on his complaints against Turkey.
"I wholeheartedly believe that democratization will win. It is high time to establish bonds of brotherhood," the rebel chieftain said - ANKARA (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)