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Kurds, the Armenian Question, and Öcalan’s Statement: An Interview

Turkey's Kurdish population has diverging opinions on the political role of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan (pictured). Discontent among the Kurdish people began to be expressed publicly in 2013, after the call to refrain from armed struggle made by Öcalan, who is sentenced to life imprisonment. However, according to Epress.am's interview subject, Aris Nalci, a Turkish-Armenian journalist based in Istanbul, not all the statements of this isolated political figure are in line with the positions of Turkey's authorities.

Öcalan's statement publicized by Bese Hozat, the Co-Chairperson of the Executive Council of the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), an organization founded by the PKK, that Armenian, Greek, and Jewish organizations abroad might harm Kurdish-Turkish relations, was cause for concern and bewilderment for Armenians. In particular, the Armenian lobby, according to Öcalan, stepped up its "detrimental" activities ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party leader's next statement published last week was to have mended the negative reaction to the previous statement, especially among Armenians. 

The imprisoned political leader's statement was the following: "The struggle of the Kurdish people for freedom and the atonement of the grief of the Armenian people have coincided in the struggle of citizens sharing the same rights in this country for a decent life."

Öcalan said that in the early 20th century a "genocide program" was carried out against Armenians. "Thanks to the fight, Armenians miraculously managed to stand up, and the PKK is fighting for the freedom of not only Kurds, but also Armenians and all the other indigenous peoples of the region."

Speaking to Epress.am, Aris Nalci said that in Turkey's reality, the importance of the Armenian question is in 3rd, 4th, or even 10th place. He also repeated the words of another Turkish-Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink (who was assassinated in 2007), that the Armenian issue cannot be resolved without the Kurdish issue being resolved. 

Video in Armenian only.

Photo credit: The Times