Turkey: Intelligence Chief Alleged to Take Part in Secret Talks with Terrorist Organization
Intellegence chief Hakan Fidan is alleged to take part in secret talks with the PKK. AA photoThe leaking of an alleged recording of secret talks between Turkish officials and Kurdish militants fuelled political bickering in Ankara on Wednesday as the opposition accused the government of deception.
Despite their critical stance on the leaked tape, however, none of the opposition parties have openly criticized the fact that officials with the National Intelligence Organization, or MİT, met with senior members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
The only statement from the government was made by Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, who said “problems could not be solved without taking risks,” referring to the Kurdish issue in the country.
“It is understood that the talks are being carried out with direct instructions from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The language used behind closed doors is the opposite of what is said to the people,” said Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP. “Mr. Erdoğan harshly accused us when we said talks were being carried out [with the PKK]. Now who is undignified?”
According to the alleged recordings, the MİT and the PKK met at least five times in Oslo, Norway, under the presence of a representative from the coordinator country.
In his comments, Kılıçdaroğlu also said Turkey’s security had also taken a heavy blow as the leaked recording showed that “everybody is being tapped – from the prime minister to the chief of General Staff and the head of the intelligence agency.” He urged Erdoğan to make an explanation.
MİT had not made a statement on the leaked recording of its chief, Hakan Fidan, at one of those alleged meetings when the Hürriyet Daily News went to press late Wednesday. Atalay declined to comment further on the recording, saying MİT would make a statement after investigating the issue.
The deputy prime minister stressed, however, that Ankara remained committed to the national unity project that aims to resolve the Kurdish conflict through peaceful steps and democratic reforms. “The problems cannot be resolved without taking risks,” Atalay said on CNNTürk television.
Oktay Vural of the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, urged the government to give up the idea of negotiating a settlement with Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, and focus on military and other measures to defeat the outlawed group. The leaking of the tape, he said, is aimed at thwarting a potential cross-border operation into northern Iraq.
Freedom for Öcalan, BDP says
The leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, argued the tape was leaked after talks with Öcalan hit a deadlock and urged the government to release the PKK chieftain.
“We now want freedom for Öcalan. If you are sincere about resolving the Kurdish problem, we know of no other way,” the BDP’s Selahattin Demirtaş said.
Content of the tapes
The audio tape, posted Tuesday on video-sharing sites, records conversations purportedly including Fidan, then Erdoğan’s deputy undersecretary; now retired deputy MİT chief Afet Güneş; prominent PKK militants Sabri Ok, Mustafa Karasu and Zübeyir Aydar; and an English-speaking representative of a “coordinator country.”
The exchanges suggest the sides were meeting in Oslo after four similar gatherings there and that MİT was carrying messages between Öcalan and the PKK representatives.
The person identified as Fidan describes himself as “a special representative of the prime minister” and assures the others that Erdoğan is “serious and sincere” about solving the Kurdish question. He also says the PKK’s observation of a cease-fire would be crucial to deepen the negotiations.
September 14, 2011
SOURCE: Hürriyet Daily News