August 12, 2019 / 11:51 AM
PKK leader Ocalan could call unilateral ceasefire: Altan Tan

The jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) could call for a unilateral ceasefire, according to Altan Tan, a former parliamentary deputy who was closely involved in the failed peace process between 2013 and 2015, Turkish news site Gazete Duvar reported.

 

PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan could call on the group to lay down its weapons in the coming week, said Tan, a former deputy for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who was involved in talks with Ocalan at Imrali prison during the failed peace process.

The peace process launched in 2013 collapsed two years later after militants believed to be linked to the PKK assassinated two Turkish police officers. However, the process had already been under severe strain due to the conflict in neighboring Syria, which had led to the mobilization of large militias under PKK-affiliated organizations.

Four years since the resumption of the conflict, Tan believes the PKK leader is preparing to call for a unilateral ceasefire in order to pave the way for a new peace process.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lifted a ban on visit to Ocalan in Imrali prison this year, allowing his lawyers to visit for the first time in eight years. The latest visit was held this week.

 “The subject of the meeting hasn’t been announced yet, but as far as I understand it, my expectation is that in the coming period there will be a call from İmralı for the PKK to lay down its arms and for a return to the 2013 process”, Tan said.

The former deputy said the call could come this week or next.

Tan said the complex situation would make a peace process difficult to realize, but that this was the only solution that would allow for a compromise in northern Syria, where the YPG and its political wing have set up autonomous local governments.

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