The DTP officials, in spite of their hopes, were not able to present the “roadmap” from Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the PKK who is serving a life sentence on İmralı Island in the Marmara Sea. Öcalan’s lawyers were unable to obtain the roadmap, which includes his suggestions for a solution to the long-standing Kurdish problem in Turkey. However, the chairman of the DTP, Ahmet Türk, said, “Öcalan is the key.”

The speeches given at the rally, in which thousands of people participated, also underlined the disappointment of pro-Kurdish circles about Interior Minister Beşir Atalay’s remarks on Monday. While Atalay was informing the public about the achievements thus far in the democratization initiative, he said that for the time being they are not planning constitutional amendments, amnesty or education in Kurdish but he did not rule of the possibility of improvement in these fields, either.

However, despite these facts, the rally was full of “peace” messages. Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir said: “I can say that the bullets fired at soldiers are like bullets fired at me,” and added that he expects Turkish politicians and intellectuals to say that the bullets fired at members of the PKK are like bullets fired at them.

“Both Turkish and Kurdish politicians, both Turkish and Kurdish intellectuals, the opposition, the government, the supporters of the DTP and the supporters of the [ruling Justice and development Party] AK Party should be more brave. The cease-fire does not work with only one side. The guns should be silent at the same moment,” he said.

Just hours before the rally, which took place in the afternoon, the PKK announced once more that they would prolong their unilateral cease-fire, which was declared in March and has been extended twice.

However, four Turkish soldiers lost their lives in Hakkari on Monday. Emine Ayna, the DTP deputy at the meeting, said that if military operations had been stopped, the four soldiers would not have died.

At the “Yes to an honorable peace” rally, Baydemir appealed to the “conscience of Turks” and said that Kurds and Turks together should create a common justice based on a common conscience.

“If you were subject to Kurdification, if your language was prohibited, if your freedoms were restricted, would you not rise up? If you would not rise up, what would you do?” he asked.

Ahmet Türk, the chairman of the DTP, pointed to Öcalan as a “counterpart” to the government for addressing the solution to the Kurdish problem, but his words were also sentimental: "I say to God, if our public has an honorable peace, I am ready to die the next day."

He underlined that since the DTP had entered Parliament, it had been working hard for a peaceful solution but that their efforts could only be limited “because those who have been struggling for 30 years and have been ready to sacrifice their lives should be around the negotiating table,” he said.

Türk claimed that no one can ignore Öcalan’s roadmap since “the key is in his hands.”

Türk also recalled the examples of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and South Africa and said that in both cases the relevant governments refused to talk for a long time but at some point they had to.

He was also critical of the “social democrats” who, according to Türk, by nature have to defend peace and democracy.

Türk also urged the government to consider the views of the Kurds and their demands. “You cannot solve this problem by pretending that the Kurds do not exist,” he said. However, he underlined that the process cannot be stopped now and that nothing will be the same as it was. “You cannot destroy this process. This process will move defiantly towards peace even if you zigzag or withdraw due to your fears,” he said.

03.09.2009

News

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