PKK Threatens Turkey with Renewed Warfare
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) warned late on Friday that its rebels would re-launch their armed campaign against Turkey if Ankara failed to address the grievances of its large Kurdish community, reported AFP, quoting party officials.
"We do not want war. (But) if the process (to resolve the dispute) runs into a bottleneck, we will try every means, including using arms," warned senior PKK commander Murat Karayilan.
He was speaking during a debate program broadcast live on the pro-Kurdish satellite television channel, Medya-TV, to mark the 17th anniversary of the launch of PKK's armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast.
Karayilan accused Turkey of ignoring Kurdish demands for greater cultural rights and continuing to pursue a campaign to annihilate the PKK, blocking any prospect of dialogue to resolve the dispute.
He warned that PKK rebels would retaliate in self-defense if Turkish security forces continued to hunt them down.
This is not the first warning by the PKK to renew warfare with Ankara after two years of ceasefire.
In June, the part said it might resume armed operations against Turkish security forces, according to a report by The Scotsman online news service on the 22nd of the month.
The PKK said it was prepared to start striking back against Turkish forces, which had been 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 appealed for peace and ordered a unilateral ceasefire in April 1999.
Ocalan, who has been sentenced to death by a Turkish security court on charges of treason and was 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Since Ocalan’s capture in February 1999, some 5,000 PKK fighters have withdrawn into northern Iraq and Iran.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.
A week before, a Turkish parliamentary commission had drafted a proposal to abolish the death penalty, but made sure that condemned Ocalan remained outside its scope.
on July 9, a second trial of Ocalan and 100 of his aides was adjourned because the court had not received a written statement of defense from the main defendant.
"My right to visit Imrali," the prison where Ocalan is the sole inmate, "was refused for meteorological reasons, so I could not register the defense of my client and could not attend the hearing," Ocalan's lawyer Hatice Korkut was qoted as saying.
Korkut said the hearing was adjourned to an as-yet undisclosed date – Albawaba.com
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