ANKARA — Turkey and its restive Kurdish population have announced a landmark deal that may soon end 31 years violence in the country.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) announced Feb. 28 at a joint press conference with senior cabinet ministers a call by the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for a congress in spring to discuss disarmament.
Around 40,000 people have lost their lives since 1984 when the PKK launched an armed struggle for a Kurdish homeland.
“This is a historic declaration of will to replace armed struggle with democratic politics,” HDP’s Sırrı Sureyya Onder said. He quoted PKK’s leader, Abdullah Ocalan, calling for a reinforced ceasefire.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan said that disarmament [of the PKK] would boost the process of a democratic solution.
The announcement came after several rounds of negotiations aimed at a solution to Turkey’s decades long Kurdish problem, and included a 10-article joint communiqué outlining thenew road map to peace. The outline addresses a definition and the content of democratic politics; definition of the national and local dimensions of democratic solution; legal and democratic warranties of free citizenship; handling the democracy-security ties during the resolution process in a manner that will sustain both public order and freedoms; developing a pluralist democracy that looks for defining the concept of identity; and defining concepts of democratic republic, common homeland and nation with democratic criteria.