Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signaled that further talks are possible with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, while PKK militants continued their attacks in the southeast.
“There will be talks if needed. Why is there the National Intelligence Service, or MİT? It is for these struggles. When a moment comes, we will decide if there should be talks,” Erdoğan on Sunday told a group of journalists.
Erdoğan also denied that a protocol had been hammered out in earlier talks. “There is no protocol between [the Turkish] state and İmralı [where PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is imprisoned]. They reflect the talks as if they were a protocol,” he said.
A record of a secret meeting held between Turkey’s intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, and senior members of the PKK was leaked to a website last month, prompting reaction from opposition parties while ruling party officials said the talks were held between the PKK and the state, not the government.
Restrcition on meetings
Öcalan’s meetings with his lawyers have been restricted and he could see only his first-degree relatives, Turkey’s prime minister said. Öcalan was void of information that his lawyers provided him, Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan said neither the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, nor the PKK represented Turkey’s Kurdish population. “The PKK is not a representative of Kurdish people. It’s a terrorist organization. Neither is the BDP representing Kurdish people. If it were, they would get more votes from the south and southeast,” he said.
The prime minister said that although they had been examining all terror movements in the world, it would be a mistake to hold up the “ETA and IRA as examples for a solution to the PKK [problem].”
Supporters and militants of the outlawed group, meanwhile, continued their attacks in eastern Turkey and Istanbul.
A group of PKK supporters set a public bus on fire Saturday night in Istanbul’s Nurtepe neighborhood. The protestors threw Molotov cocktails at the bus, and the passengers barely escaped, Anatolia news agency reported. Police launched an operation in the neighborhood to catch the attackers.
Also on Saturday night, a group of PKK militants raided the construction site of a new airport in the eastern city of Bingöl.
According to a written statement made public on Sunday by the Bingöl Governor’s Office, a group of four militants arrived at the construction site around 9 p.m. and took 18 workers as hostages. The militants then set a building and a vehicle on fire before fleeing the area.