Turkish PM Erdoğan meets Cabinet members before PKK retreat


ANKARA – Hürriyet- 2.5.2013 – Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a surprise meeting with his ministers, advisers and an intelligence official in Ankara on May 1, less than two weeks before the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) will withdraw from Turkish soil.

Deputy Prime Ministers Bülent Arınç, Bekir Bozdağ and Beşir Atalay, Interior Minister Muammer Güler, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik, Prime Ministry undersecretary Efkan Ala, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy leader Hüseyin Çelik, and the prime minister’s senior adviser, Yalçın Akdoğan, were present at the meeting which took place at the AKP’s headquarters in Ankara.

Erdoğan discussed reports from the Turkish Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry and the MİT’s reports on the ongoing process of the Kurdish issue. Atalay delivered the preliminary reports from the “Wise Persons” commission members who have been meeting with people across Turkey for more than three weeks now to discuss the peace process. The meeting came as senior PKK leader Murat Karayılan told a press conference held in the Kandil mountains of northern Iraq on April 25 that the PKK would start a withdrawal from Turkish soil on May 8.

Hüseyin Çelik attended the meeting in Ankara soon after visiting Arbil where he met with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. “We support the peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue in Turkey. We are ready to do anything to help this process,” Barzani said after the meeting.

“I believe Mr. Masoud Barzani [president minister of the KRG] and Mr. Nechirvan Barzani will do their parts to extinguish this fire. This is my sincere opinion,” Hüseyin Çelik told reporters April 30. After that meeting, another surprise meeting took place in the same place on May 1. The AKP’s legal staff came together and discussed work on the new Constitution.