Senior Kurdish commander says PKK ready for dialogue with Biden

Bahoz Erdal, a top commander of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) military wing, called on the new U.S. administration to start a dialogue with the outlawed organisation.

“PKK is open for a dialogue,” Erdal said, Kurdish outlet Medya News reported on Wednesday.

U.S. President Joe Biden and his government should consider “a new way of politics regarding the Kurdish question”, based on a perspective developed together with the Kurds, Erdal added.

Speaking of Turkey’s operation against the PKK in northern Iraq in mid-February, Erdal said Ankara didn’t sincerely aim to rescue people held prisoner by PKK’s military wing People’s Defence Forces (HPG).

On Feb. 14, Turkey announced that 13 civilians had been discovered dead in a cave in northern Iraq’s Gara region during a military operation against the PKK, which has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy on Turkish soil for almost four decades.

Twelve of the men were identified as members of Turkish intelligence, military and police services, but are considered to be civilians by Turkey as per Ankara’s policy of cutting off ties with personnel who are captured by enemy combatants. One man was an Iraqi national.

Turkey maintains that PKK executed the men, who had been taken prisoner from various locations over the last six years, while the PKK says they died in Turkish airstrikes during the operation.

“If Turkey really had an aim to save the lives of the prisoners, they would have done it in diplomatic ways. If four democrats who want peace would have come with the families of the prisoners, this issue would be easily solved,” Erdal said.

According to Erdal, Turkey was targeting Sinjar, Gara and Qandil in northern Iraq, where the PKK has several bases and its main headquarters, because it has further plans on Iraq’s Mosul and Kirkuk provinces. Turkey maintains that the provinces should have been included in its borders after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the founding of the modern republic.