Iraqi President Jalal Talabani claimed members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party(PKK) were prepared to lay down their arms if the Turkish government promised a pardon and the right to return home to Turkey. As of this point, the Turkish government has only indicated a willingness to grant pardons to anyone who can prove he was not involved in violent actions against civilians or the Turkish military. Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey told members of Parliament there were no plans on the part of his administration to grant pardons to Kurds who engaged in military action. President Talabani, who is a Kurd, noted, “the PKK says it will lay down arms if amnesty ensures that PKK members will return home safely. They say they are ready to hand over their guns to the US forces and even to the Iraqis provided that there is such an amnesty.” Talabani emphasized the alternative to an amnesty was continued fighting in mountainous areas. His support for amnesty diverted from the view of Massoud Barzani, leader of Kurdistan who is infuriated at Turkish air assaults on his territory and regarded them as an act of war which is killing innocent civilians.
At some point, the Turkish government has to confront a choice that many others have faced in attempting to end civil conflict– grant an amnesty and use the new opportunity to end issues that created the conflict. The British government in North Ireland worked with former terrorists to achieve peace. Prime Minister Erdogan has to grant amnesty and work with returned Kurdish rebels to provide work and education opportunities.