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Turkish Parliament Speaker Denies State-PKK Contact

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TEHRAN, May 26 (ICANA) – The state does not negotiate with terror organizations, Turkish Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Şahin said Monday, after a newspaper claimed the state had been in talks with a faction of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
Thursday, May 26, 2011 11:19:31 PM
Turkish Parliament Speaker Denies State-PKK Contact

“The Turkish Republic does not speak to any terror organizations – neither in the past, nor today nor in the future. The state doesn’t get involved in any such attempt, which doesn’t suits its seriousness,” Şahin told reporters.

“The claims reflect the aim by some political parties to corner the ruling party ahead of the [June 12] elections to get political benefit,” the Parliament speaker said, according to Hurriyet daily news.

Şahin’s remarks came after daily Milliyet claimed Monday that the state has been in talks since 2005 with Kandil, referring to a faction of the PKK’s leaders in northern Iraq’s Kandil Mountains.

In its article, Milliyet cited comments made by Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, who claimed the Turkish state had not only been in contact with İmralı, the island where PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan was sentenced to life in prison in 1999, but also with Kandil. The newspaper also claimed that the National Intelligence Organization, or MİT, held talks with Kandil on behalf of the state.

Detailing the alleged talks in chronological order, daily Milliyet said the state had been in negotiation with Kandil various times since 2005 for different purposes, including seeking a possible cease-fire or a permanent solution to the Kurdish question.

With such talks, the Turkish state aimed not to leave the initiative or authority on the Kurdish issue to northern Iraqi leaders or external forces such as the United States, according to daily Milliyet.

The talks in 2006 and 2007 were followed by talks with the PKK’s three factions – in İmralı, Kandil and Europe – in 2008 with the support of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül, the paper said. According to Milliyet’s report, the state sometimes contacted the PKK through its supporters in Europe but later had direct contact with the outlawed organization.

The state likewise coordinated the entrance into Turkey through the Habur border gate of 34 PKK militants in 2009 with PKK leaders in Kandil and Europe, daily Milliyet said.

The dialogue with the PKK in Kandil and with İmralı was effective in the PKK’s announcement of a unilateral cease-fire ahead of the 2009 local elections and ahead of the constitutional referendum in 2010, according to the paper.

Despite the appointment of Hakan Fidan as the new intelligence chief, replacing Emre Taner, MİT has continued its role in the state’s negotiations with İmralı, though the state’s contacts with Europe and Kandil have decreased, Milliyet said.

In August 2010, Erdoğan said the government would never sit at the negotiating table with terrorist organizations but the state would do it through various organizations such as MİT if it were necessary.

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