The aim of ongoing talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party(PKK) is to convince the group’s militants to lay down their arms and abandon Turkey, Prime MinisterRecep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday.
“Our sincerity can be seen in the steps that we have taken in the last few days. Our aim is to have the separatist terrorist organization’s cadres leave Turkey. [We want to make them] lay down their arms and leave,” Erdoğan said during a joint press conference with Nigerien Prime Minister Mahamadou Issoufou in reference to the talks between Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK, and the government.
“During such peace initiatives, the [PKK] has always showed the [worst behavior] possible. We will continue our operations. But we have said that ‘we can negotiate with the political arm of the terrorist organization.’ And we are at the same point today,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency.
In a bid to end the four-decade-old Kurdish question and disarm the PKK, the Turkish government dispatched National Intelligence Agency (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan last month for talks on İmralı island, where Öcalan is serving a life sentence. Öcalan was later allowed to meet with two prominent Kurdish politicians.
CHP questions Fidan’s role
However, Erdoğan has not succeeded in convincing the main opposition, which questioned the prime minister’s “sincerity.”
“The place to solve this problem is not closed-door, secret meetings but Parliament,” Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) spokesman Haluk Koç told a press conference yesterday.
The CHP has also submitted a written questionnaire to Parliament to learn the details of Fidan’s assignment. Pleading for more transparency in the resolution of the Kurdish conflict, CHP deputy leader Osman Korutürk requested that Erdoğan reveal whether the MİT chief was participating in the talks on behalf of his own institution or as a special envoy for the prime minister.
‘PKK cadres to move to Europe’
Meanwhile, more details have emerged on the ongoing talks on İmralı. Abdülkadir Selvi of daily Yeni Şafak reported that discussions focused on the fate of the executive cadres of the PKK’s headquarters in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq.
“Under the current road map prepared in the İmralı-Ankara-Kandil triangle, there are plans to deport the executive cadre of the PKK to a single European capital. In the former process, the executive cadre, comprising 225 people, was supposed to be distributed to several European capitals. Now, however, the core executive group of 50 leaders at Kandil will be sent to Europe. The country has not been decided yet. This plan paves the way for the others to return to Turkey and enter politics,” Selvi said.
Selvi said the discussions were prompted when Fidan asked Öcalan twice on Erdoğan’s instructions whether he intended to create a separate Kurdish state; the imprisoned leader reportedly answered in the negative.
Selvi was the first journalist to report that Öcalan and Fidan had met on the island.