"I am making a request to Mr. Erdogan. The PKK will not end, you are making a mistake. Propose a way out, we are open to any kind of democratic solution."
~ Abdullah Öcalan.
~ Abdullah Öcalan.
The release of the prisoners of war held by HPG since 21 October went off without a hitch early this morning in South Kurdistan, and RojTV featured the handover in its Kurdish-language and Turkish-language news reports.
Representatives of the KRG Interior Ministry as well as DTP parliamentarians Aysel Tuğluk, Osman Özçelik, and Fatma Kurtulan received the POWs at an undisclosed location in the Medya Defense Zone. During the handover, Fatma Kurtulan noted that DTP had been the first to try to introduce a discussion of the POWs domestically, within the TBMM, but that AKP and the other parties ignored the situation. The AKP claimed there weren't sufficient funds available to arrange a committee to look into the issue of securing the release of the POWs. Apparently, the POWs were not considered important enough for AKP to concern itself with.
The POWs looked relaxed and in excellent condition and they acknowledged that they had been treated very well by HPG fighters. Naturally, this led them to change their perspective on the PKK because their experience was nothing like Turkish propaganda had led them to expect. They mentioned that they intended to tell the truth of their experience when they returned to Turkey, but I wouldn't bet on seeing much of that in Turkish media. On the other hand, word will spread among their families and friends.
I can guarantee you that if these had been PKK fighters in the hands of the Ankara regime, you would never see them again. They would be tortured to death or executed after having laid down their weapons. The Ankara regime is not civilized in the least. In this way, it resembles the American regime. Think extraordinary rendition. Think water-boarding. Think Guantanamo.
In the meantime, the Turkish General Staff posted a notice on its website that the "lost" soldiers have returned to their units. That's a case of the Deep State being in Deep Denial.
Interestingly enough, Turkish media is running reports of Erdoğan's attempted censorship of the POW story within Turkey. Apparently he had attempted to put a ban on the story through RTUK, to prevent Turkish media from broadcasting information on the POWs. However, the Turkish Court of Appeals refused the ban.
Erdoğan tried to use the excuse of "domestic security" in calling for the censorship. I guess, in this case, the Turkish judiciary didn't feel like embracing state secret's privilege.
Once handed over to the KRG Interior Ministry and the DTP parliamentarians, the former POWs were taken to Hewlêr. Since Turkey pretended until the last minute that the soldiers were "lost," there were no Turkish officials present in Hewlêr to receive the soldiers. Instead, they were handed over to the American military, who transported them by air to Mûsil, and then from Mûsil to the Turkish airbase at Bamerni, South Kurdistan. At that point, the soldiers were handed over to Turkish officials.
Bugün adds that the Iraqi Defense Minister and American General David Petraeus were on board the aircraft with the soldiers.
Back at Qendil, Murat Karayılan had something to say about the release of the Turkish POWs:
"We released the soldiers in order to send the message that we don't want to resolve the Kurdish question with violence and war, but in a peaceful way. With this message, we want to declare to the entire world that we want to solve the Kurdish question in democratic ways. If the Turkish government takes a positive step and stops its attacks, the clashes and war will reach an end. This situation will bring an historic era, and a democratic and peaceful resolution."
The bottom line: PKK offers an opportunity for a peaceful resolution while ever ready for legitimate self-defense.
On Saturday, PKK issued a warning to Syria for its attacks against Kurdish demonstrators in Qamişlo and Kendela, West Kurdistan, that left three Kurdish demonstrators dead and five wounded. Kurds had been protesting against a Turkish invasion of South Kurdistan and against Turkish poisoning of Öcalan.
Ever the toady, Ba'ath leader Beşar Esad had visited Ankara earlier and declared his regime's support for a Turkish invasion of South Kurdistan.
The Syrian military should be an absolute pushover for PKK.
In a related item, DozaMe has an ironic point to make about the US administration's Axis of Evil.
And if you think Erdoğan's bad about his attempted censorship of HPG's former Turkish POWs, take a look at the censorship attempt against Hevallo by a stupid Dutch fascist.