Abdullah Ocalan, PKK founder-leader, has given a call for a ceasefire and for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish national question through democratic means. In a statement from Ocalan read out by Kurdish legislators in Diyarbakir, Turkey on Thursday, coinciding with the celebrations of the Kurdish New Year festival Newroz, he said "let the arms silence, opinions and politics speak", further adding that “this is not an end, this is a beginning. It is not the end of our struggle, it is the start of a new sort of struggle.” Urging the Kurdish armed units to withdraw to Turkish borders, he called on people of “Armenian, Turkic, Assyrian, Arabic and other backgrounds to see the light of freedom and equality as much as Kurdish people do.” He was also of the opinion that a future solution for the Kurds should not be based on “conquest, denial, forced assimilation and annihilation”.
Mr. Ocalan, who has been placed under arrest by Turkey in solitary confinement for over a decade, has been in negotiations with Turkish authorities in the recent months for a just resolution of the Kurdish question.
Kurdish diaspora circles expressed hope that the words of the founder-leader of the PKK would be taken up sincerely by the Turkey establishment.
Activists also note that this is not a ‘surrender of arms’, but a genuine willingness to pursue a peaceful means to achieve a just political solution for the Kurdish nation.
It is however to be seen whether Turkey, which has a history of negating Kurdish civil and political rights, will use this opportunity to arrive at a just political solution for the Kurds or manipulate the moment to increase its war.
The text of Mr. Abdullah Ocalan’s statement, translated by Bianet.org, is reproduced below:
Let all the oppressed have a free and happy Newroz!
Greetings to all peoples of Middle East and Central Asia who celebrate Newroz, the day of revival and rejoice, with the greatest participation in the world…
Greetings to all other peoples of the world who celebrate Newroz, the landmark of a new era and sunshine, with enthusiasm and a democratic tolerance.
Greetings to all who take democratic right, freedom and equality as their guides…
Greetings to all Kurdish people, a folk that mothered one of the most ancient rural and urban civilizations at the lands of Mesopotamia and Anatolia from Zagros and Taurus Mountains to Tigris and Euphrates Rivers…
For Kurdish people, who coexisted peacefully and co-created this civilization with other peoples from different racial, religious, ethnic backgrounds; Tigris and Euphrates are siblings with Sakarya and Maritsa rivers. Mount Ararat and Cudi Mountain are friends of Kachkar and Erciyes Mountains. Haley and Delido dances are relatives with Horon and Zeybek dances.
This great civilization, these sister entities have been separated from each other by political oppressions, external interventions and group dynamics; they have been compelled to build entities ignoring justice, equality and freedom.
For the past 200 years, conquest wars, western imperialists interventions and oppressive mentalities have urged Arabic, Turkish, Persian and Kurdish entities to form artificial states, borderlines, problems.
The era of exploiting, oppressive ignoring mentalities is over. The peoples of Middle East and Central Asia are waking up. They are returning to their own. They are saying ‘no’ to the clashes that aim to provoke and harm each other.
Millions of people who are enthusiastically crowding for Newroz today speak of peace and fraternity, and demand a resolution.
The struggle I initiated against our collective desperation, ignorance and slavery was aiming to form a consciousness, mentality and spirit albeit all challenges.
Today, I see that this scream came to a certain point.
Our fight was never against a particular race, religion, sect or group, and it can never be.
Our fight was always against oppression, ignorance, injustice, lack of development and all sorts of pressures.
Today though, we are waking up to a new Turkey, Middle East and future.
To all youngsters who bless my call, to all women who add my message to their hearts, to all friends who consider my sayings, to all people who pay attention to what I am saying;
We have a new era starting upon us.
A door is opening from a process of armed resistance to a process of democratic politics.
A new process emphasizing on political, social and economic aspect is starting, a new mentality on democratic rights, freedoms and equality is developing.
We have sacrificed decades for this people, we have suffered great consequences. But all the sacrifice and struggle did not go unwasted. Kurdish people regained their true self-identity.
We have come to a point where we say "let the arms silence, opinions and politics speak". The ignorant modernist paradigm has been deconstructed. The blood is dripping from this geography, regardless of Turkish, Kurdish, Laz, Circassian origin.
I, myself, am declaring in the witnessing of millions of people that a new era is beginning, arms are silencing, politics are gaining momentum. It is time for our [PKK] armed entities to withdraw from the [Turkish] border.
I strongly believe that whoever opens their heart to me, whoever believes in our struggle, will certainly consider the sensitivity of the ongoing process.
This is not an end, this is a beginning. It is not the end of our struggle, it is the start of a new sort of struggle.
Forming geographies based on a single ethnicity and nation is an inhuman invention that the modernity created to alienate us from our true selves.
Everybody is responsible for the creation of a free, democratic and egalitarian country that suits well with the history of Kurdistan and Anatolia. On the occasion of this Newroz, I am calling all people with Armenian, Turkic, Assyrian, Arabic and other backgrounds to see the light of freedom and equality as much as Kurdish people do.
To people of Turkey;
Turkish people who know ancient Anatolia as Turkey should know that their coexistence with Kurdish people dates back to a historical agreement of fraternity and solidarity under the flag of Islam.
In the real sense, this spirit of solidarity does not and must not contain conquest, denial, forced assimilation and annihilation.
The politics of oppression, annihilation and assimilation represent the effort of an isolated elitist government that deny the existing history and fraternity agreement.
I am inviting everyone to build the democratic modernity together, as two prominent strategic powers of Middle East, departing from our culture and civilization to emancipate ourselves from the vicious cycle of cruelty which looks obvious to contradict our history and fraternity agreement.
It is time not for opposition, conflict or contempt towards each other, it is time for cooperation, unity, embracing and mutual blessing.
During World War I, Turkish and Kurdish soldiers have fallen martyrs together in Çananakkale [Dardanelles], they have fought together in Turkey’s Independence War, and opened together the 1920 National Assembly.
What our mutual past points out is our mutual necessity of forming our future together. The spirit of 1920 National Assembly era also enlightens the upcoming era of now.