Posted by: hevallo | September 24, 2010

>Kurdish Opening?


Officials of government agencies start talks with PKK leaders

In an attempt to solve the country’s long-standing Kurdish problem, state officials have commenced talks with leaders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

According to reports by various Turkish newspapers, officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the gendarmerie and the General Staff have engaged in talks with PKK leaders. These officials are reportedly in contact with Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK.

The talks are not only focused on the cease-fire that the PKK had declared until Sept. 20, but also included issues such as education in Kurdish, the PKK laying down its arms and conditions for amnesty. The PKK on Aug. 13 declared what it called a “de-escalation,” a term understood to mean a cease-fire, up until Sept. 20. It had said it would not initiate any attacks but would defend itself. Last week, however, a roadside land mine blast claimed the lives of nine civilians in Hakkari, causing furor in Turkey.

Although the PKK strongly denied responsibility for the attack and accused clandestine organizations within the state of being behind it, there are strong claims that infighting within the PKK might be responsible for the attack.

Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence in a prison on İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara, did not rule out these possibilities. He said the blast might have been perpetrated by a clandestine state organization that had infiltrated the PKK, or a group within the PKK that is not under the control of central command, or that it could be a revenge attack in a local conflict.

Observers note that talks with the PKK are needed to successfully solve the Kurdish problem. In addition, the Taraf daily mentioned behind-the-scenes talks in Ankara which suggest that the government should consider talks with the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) of Ahmet Türk and Aysel Tuğluk representing close to 600 civil society organizations.

Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) Hasip Kaplan, who was Öcalan’s former attorney, told NTV television recently that “Öcalan has been talking with the state for years,” and that Öcalan has said he expects a democratic solution. Meanwhile, President Abdullah Gül, who is currently leading Turkey’s delegation to the UN General Assembly this week, spoke with the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), saying that it is important for Turkey to eliminate terrorism. Asked about his strict stance regarding autonomy, Gül said he places more importance to giving power to local authorities. He added that a reform package regarding increasing local power is on Parliament’s agenda.

24 September 2010, Friday


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