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Letter: Futile for Kurds to follow Ocalan

I DISAGREE with Joan Smith ("The case of Ocalan is our case too", 28 February). One has to remember that the PKK represents the PKK and not all Kurds. The Kurds are a group fragmented not only by the different countries in which they find themselves but also by ideological, tribal and clan differences. In fact, it is arguable if they are a nation at all.

While their history in the Turkish Republic may not have been a happy one, it is in Turkey, with its growing democracy and aspirations for closer EU ties, that there lies their best chance of at least some autonomy and cultural freedom. What is certain is that none of this will ever come to pass while the PKK remains a viable organisation.

The PKK is a throwback to the Cold War; a classic Marxist-Leninist people's liberation organisation. It has all the finesse, ideological flexibility and brutality of such groups. Their methods of persuasion are abduction and the bullet. Most of the civilian victims of this insurgency have been Kurds who did not or would not fit into the PKK's ideological mould. The PKK is Ocalan's creation. Its political tactics are his; its military strategy and tactics are his; its whole ethos is his.