Friday, April 5, 2013 | Scott Lucas in EA Live, EA Middle East and Turkey
Prime Minister Erdogan1000 GMT: Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has met for the first time with the members of the “wise men commission”, who are tasked with explaining the neogtiations with the insurgent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to the public. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç had announced the list of “wise men” of intellectuals and public figures on Wednesday.
The move has not come without tension. The PKK leadership and opposition parties had asked for the group to be appointed by Parliament, not by Erdogan. That issue is part of a wider question of supervision of the negotiations. The Government is insisting on a withdrawal overseen by the Ministry of Intellilgence and other security services, while the PKK wants Parliament to set out the procedure. The commission will be active in seven regions across the country, but its duties are not yet clear. On Tuesday, Erdoğan said, “We will listen to the views and suggestions of the people that are part of this delegation, consult with them and they will organize some events in [the country’s] regions and get together with our citizens and local public opinion leaders.”