Kurdish militants hold up a poster bearing the picture of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan. (File photo)
The imprisoned leader of a separatist Kurdish militant group in Turkey has reportedly invited the Turkish government back to the negotiating table.
Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), said the current conflict between his group and Ankara was a war that “nobody can win,” according to his brother Mehmet, who was speaking on Monday after a recent meeting with him in prison, the Middle East Eye reported.
The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since 1984. A shaky peace mechanism, which had started out between the two sides back in 2013, collapsed last year.
It is estimated that the resumption of the hostilities killed nearly 2,000 people between July 2015 and July 2016.
“Yes, the Kurdish issue is a heavy issue. It’s not a matter of 20 years, it goes back 150, 200 years. Thirty people die every day. If the state was sincere, there wouldn’t be so many deaths. This country doesn’t deserve this. Everybody with a conscience must consider this,” Ocalan further said, according to his brother.
“The solution can’t be one-sided; the largest party is the state. If the state points to that, this problem won’t continue for too long, it will be resolved.”
Turkish police detain a teacher during a protest against the dismissal of teachers over suspected links to the PKK, in Diyarbakir, Turkey, September 9, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
As quoted by his brother, the PKK leader also put the blame for the breakdown of the ceasefire on Ankara, saying, “First of all, it wasn’t us who destroyed the process.”
Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale anti-PKK campaign in its southern border region over the past few months. The Turkish military has also been pounding Kurdish militant positions in northern Iraq and Syria as well.