The Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, has been battling Turkey for an independent Kurdish state since the 1970s. Now Turkey has promised to come up with a plan to give Kurds more political rights in a bid to end the conflict. At the PKK's main camp in the remote Qandil mountains in northern Iraq's Kurdistan region, the PKK leader, Murat Karayilan, spoke to Babylon and Beyond about the PKK's suspicions of the Turkish offer.
Q: Turkey has shown a willingness to resolve the Kurdish issue. How do you read the situation?
A: We are serious, and we want to resolve the Kurdish issue in Turkey, and we are working towards peace. We want to solve the issue by dialogue, away from violence and the use of weapons. If Turkey is serious and has true intentions about peace, there must be an initial step of good faith to stop the ongoing military operations against our soldiers and our bases inside Turkey. To begin with, there should be a halt to military operations against us, then dialogue and negotiation, and then we will start talking about giving up our weapons. Any solution or peace initiative to give up our weapons will be considered at the end, not the beginning.
I see a number of politicians demanding that we should abandon our armed struggle, but they do not talk about the Turkish side and the military operations they carry out against us. On the ground, we feel their agenda is unclear and they don't have a road map.