As calls for a review of the designation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) grow on the 45th anniversary of its foundation, Laura Castel, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and Dr Gisela Penteler, a peace activist and member of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), have shared their views on the importance of delisting the organisation.
In a recent interview with Erem Kansoy of Medya Haber TV, Castel expressed her belief that the PKK should no longer be listed as a terrorist organisation, on the basis that the group is actively seeking a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question.
Castel praised the use of political means for political solutions and criticised the use of anti-terror laws against politicians. She highlighted the role of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as a symbol of the Kurdish struggle and called for his release, saying that he should lead the debate and negotiations.
Dr Penteler expressed similar sentiments, stating that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation, especially at this time when it is actively working for a solution to the Kurdish question.
Penteler argued that keeping the PKK on the terrorist list hinders open discussion and prevents the voice of the Kurdish people from being heard. She stressed the need to remove the PKK from the list and suggested that the reluctance to do so was due to fear of the reaction of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as Western countries rely on him to stem the flow of refugees and to maintain diplomatic relations with Arab countries.
Penteler criticised double standards in international relations and stressed the importance of consistent respect for values. She called for the delisting of the PKK saying that Erdoğan needed to respect such a decision.
Castel and Penteler have also joined a recent international campaign calling for Öcalan’s freedom and a political solution to the Kurdish question.
In May, Castel told Sarah Glynn about their call for the Council of Europe to help facilitate a new peace process that must include Öcalan and begin with his release.