Created: Thursday, 03 March 2016 13:52
Written by Trevor Rayne
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 114 - August/September 1993
Republished as Chapter 3.4 in The New Warlords: from the Gulf War to the recolonisation of the Middle East, ed. Eddie Abrahams, Larkin Publications, 1994.
Events during the past year: Syria's closure of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in Lebanon, the joint Kurdish Democratic Party — Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (KDP-PUK) and Turkish army assaults on the PKK in South Kurdistan (northern Iraq), the PKK's unilateral ceasefire and resumption of hostilities in the face of Turkish state intransigence have brought the Kurdish revolution to a critical stage. TREVOR RAYNE reports.
Financial Times: Abdullah Ocalan has agreed to extend his ceasefire. Are you closer to a solution?
Suleyman Demirel: We never hear him, whatever he says. If you start hearing him, then he becomes a party to the problem . . . We should never deal with him. (Financial Times 7 May 1993)
On 17 March 1993 PKK General Secretary Abdullah Ocalan accompanied by Jalal Talabani, leader of the PUK from South Kurdistan declared a unilateral ceasefire in the Kurdish liberation struggle to run over the 21 March Newroz (New Year). The ceasefire was extended indefinitely on 16 April when Ocalan made the following demands: an end to the annihilation of Kurdish people and Turkey's military operations; a general amnesty; cultural rights such as Kurdish language radio and television stations, newspapers and books; the right to the unfettered use of the Kurdish language and the legalisation of Kurdish political organisations; the right for displaced persons to return to their homes and be compensated for damage to their houses and loss of livestock; abolition of the system of regional governors and the disarming of the village guards. Ocalan warned that if the Turkish Republic continued its operations then the ceasefire would be meaningless and the guerrilla war would have to be resumed. He appealed to the UN and to the European Parliament to send delegates to Kurdistan to observe the ceasefire.
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