A MEETING WITH KARAYILAN IN QANDIL : How did the Security Council hear the PKK statement?

National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan, who orchestrates the whole operation regarding the PKK.

It appears that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has able public relations advisers, if their performance on the militant pullout statement on April 25 is considered. There were more than a hundred journalists there, mostly from Turkey, who had flocked to Arbil, where the headquarters of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq is, waiting for days to be taken to the PKK base in the Kandil Mountains for the press conference of Murat Karayılan as the acting chief.

Karayılan’s press conference was expected in the morning hours. Turkish journalists there started to get anxious as hours passed without any news from Kandil. Some of them heard the word around that there were some UAVs hovering so the PKK was reluctant to hold the press conference. When the PKK guides asked the journalists to hand over their mobile telephones, that was tied to a possible plot of Turkish or some other secret service to assassinate the PKK chiefs there; in a naive way, it seems. Perhaps only a few of them thought that was the PKK’s main concern, more than a mobile phone-signaled attack was a possible political attack on the process caused by hasty and romantic social messages by reporters who could pick this or that part up of the Karayılan messages.

And the main reason for the delay was not the UAVs. The PKK headquarters knew that the National Security Council (MGK) meeting was to start at 1:30 p.m. in Ankara the same day. All high-level decision makers of the Turkish system would be at the MGK meeting chaired by President Abdullah Gül, from Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan to Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel and National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan, who orchestrates the whole operation regarding the PKK.

As soon as Karayılan started to talk in Arbil, the full text of his speech was put on the websites of all PKK-related news organizations in Europe and Iraq. The full text regarding the pullout of the PKK militants instantly blinked on the screens of many MGK members at the same time, was read aloud and started to be discussed (like in all newsrooms in Turkey), before Karayılan read it in full and of course the reporters there could hear it.

If that is not a successful preventive move to control possible political damage by the media (whether it be intentional or with goodwill sourcing from professional competition) about the process, what is? One has to admit that the PKK’s psychological warfare and media operations, at least in this case, are very successful, at least more successful than many former media operations performed by Turkish governments or military in past years. That also shows that the PKK is trying to be as careful as the government to see where the dialogue process is going. The next stage to watch is the completion of the pullout of some 1,500 militants out of Turkish borders, which is expected to take place at most in a month. That would not only mean a long summer with no clashes and casualties after almost a decade but also a major confidence-building measure for the rest of the process to put an end to Turkey’s painful Kurdish problem.