Turkey Intelligence Chief Assures Ocalan that Peace Process Will Continue -
Hakan Fidan and Ocalan
RUDAW – The head of Turkish National Intelligence (MIT) has met the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and reassured him that the peace process with Ankara would continue.
Hakan Fidan met last Friday with Ocalan in his Imrali island prison, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay revealed in a statement.
The meeting came after Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who as prime minister had been instrumental in getting the peace talks going, won Turkey’s first direct presidential elections on August 10.
Fidan’s meeting is said to reaffirm Turkey’s plans on pressing ahead with a peace process with the PKK, which began after Ocalan declared a ceasefire in a three-decade conflict for greater Kurdish rights in March 2013.
Since then, the peace process has all but stalled, with the PKK accusing Ankara of dragging its feet.
Speaking to the Turkey daily Star, Atalay revealed that Ankara intends to deepen negotiations with PKK chiefs to end the conflict.
“We are now in the last phase of determining the final steps of this process,” he told the newspaper. “Any meeting within the law should be conducted to move the action plan forward.”
Atalay added that, “The government intends to complete the roadmap for the (peace) process by September. Several legal amendments may be needed, but the essence of the matter is to end terrorism, ensure the return of PKK, maintain the social integration and participate in political democratically.”
Turkey’s government passed a historical bill in July, which set the legal framework for peace-talks with the PKK.
“The reconciliation process gave hope to everyone,” Atalay said. “The process brings hope to the families of children who were kidnapped by PKK and to the families who voluntary took part in PKK.”
However, one of the main mediators in the peace talks said it would take a long time before peace is achieved in Turkey.
“In a society that has been through war, you cannot have peace overnight,” Sirri Surreya Onder, an MP for the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), told Rudaw in an interview.
“You have to change people’s minds about the process on a grassroots level”, he said. “People, especially youth, have to trust you and be assured of the importance of the peace process.
“The government had made discrimination an official policy,” he said. “It had become a habit and now ending it isn’t easy.”