“TALKS WITH ÖCALAN” ? – Kurdish PM Welcomes Resumption of Talks Between Turkey and PKK

Kurdish PM Welcomes Resumption of Talks Between Turkey and PKK

29/09/2012 RUDAW- ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has welcomed recent remarks by Turkish PM that his government is ready to resume talks with Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Speaking to the Turkish Star Daily, PM Barzani said the Kurdish leadership was aware of talks between the PKK and Turkish government held in Oslo in the past few years.

“We offered all our support for the sake of a solution and stopping the bloodshed in Turkey and from the same perspective we welcome recent remarks by PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding the resumption of talks with Abdullah Ocalan,” PM Barzani said. In an interview with the Turkish Kanal 7 on Wednesday, Erdogan signaled that new talks with the PKK were possible. “Regarding Imrali, there could be more talks,” he said. In the same interview, Erdogan said that he had personally sanctioned all previous talks with the PKK leader.

“When Emre Taner was the head of the Turkish intelligence, I sent him to Oslo and to Imrali [Ocalan’s island prison],” Erdogan said. “And that is now a mechanism in our hands. Whenever we deem it necessary, we can use it.”

Commenting on Erdogan’s remarks, PM Barzani said that Kurds and Turks are waiting for peace and that the Turkish prime minister’s statement has created “a suitable atmosphere for stopping bloodshed and destruction.” PM Barzani said that these talks should result in the PKK laying down its weapons; both sides halting their military attacks and an end to the arresting of Kurdish activists by Turkish police forces.

“The attacks launched by the PKK and the ground operations by the Turkish military or its air raids into the Kurdistan Region will not bear any fruit in terms of ending the problem,” said the Kurdish prime minister.

PM Barzani also called on Turkish authorities to improve the living conditions for PKK leader Ocalan who serves a life sentence on Imrali Island since his arrest in 1999. “We believe the (Kurdish) problem is a political one, not security or military and can only be settled through political means,” PM Barzani told the Turkish newspaper. According to an article in the Hurryiet newspaper last week, Ocalan has objected to the recent PKK attacks. “These latest attacks are irresponsible,” Ocalan told his brother in prison, Hurryiet reported. “These attacks destroy the bridges between nations. They must be prevented.” PM Barzani added that Iraqi Kurds are “ready to play any role for a peaceful solution and do whatever is required of us from a brotherly and neighborly perspective.” “The Kurdish people in Turkey just like the Turkish people would like to see the problems resolved peacefully,” he said. In the run up to last year’s parliamentary elections, Turkish PM Erdogan promised to draft a new constitution that will please all sides in Turkey. Speaking to the Star Daily PM Barzani urged all sides in Turkey to enshrine Kurdish rights in the country’s new constitution based on recognizing each other’s rights in order to fundamentally resolve the problem. “And that will be another major accomplishment for the prime minister, his Justice and Development Party (AKP) and both the Kurdish and Turkish peoples,” said PM Barzani.