Via Daily Sabah — A leading figure of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Cemil Bayık has said they are putting an end to war as it did not benefit any of the sides involved in it. The PKK has used terrorism in Turkey since the mid-80’s.
Bayık’s statement comes a month after the PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan, released a statement asking PKK leaders to lay down their weapons. “We say enough to the war. Neither us (the PKK) nor the Turkish state have reached any goals,” Bayık said, noting that they no longer want to wage a war using terrorism in Turkey.
Apologizing to Germany
Cemil Bayık told the regional German public televisions WDR and NDR that the group had recently gone through a transformation phase and renounced the path of violence to achieve its political goals. Bayık also apologized to the German people for attacks carried out during the 1990s in Germany.
Germany, which is home to around 700,000 Kurdish immigrants, outlawed the PKK in 1993, following violent protests and highway blockades that injured scores of German police officers.
Debate on Lifting Ban
Given the recent developments in Syria and Iraq, where Kurdish fighters participated in battles against the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a debate has sparked in Germany about the legal status of PKK; recently the German opposition Left Party demanded the lifting of the ban on the group.
However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Social Democrat Party defended the ban during a parliamentary debate in February, noting that the PKK [had] not renounced its terrorism tactics and its goal of an independent state.
A Step Towards Peace
Since 1984, the PKK has used terrorism in Turkey in an attempt to secure an independent Kurdish state. Its leader, Abdullah Öcalan, was jailed in the late 90’s, and recently denounced the use of violence to achieve political means.
Although Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union list PKK as a terrorist organization, it’s apparent that the PKK is taking steps towards peace, with the hopes that their label as a terrorist organization may, one day, be removed.[Read more at Daily Sabah]