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 Turkey's intelligence MIT chief set to testify in Ankara over contacts with PKK-KCK

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Turkey's intelligence MIT chief set to testify in Ankara over contacts with PKK-KCK  10.2.2012  
By staff writers

Turkey's intelligence chief Hakan Fidan - See Related Links
Turkish prosecutor orders arrest of 4 spy agency members

February 10, 2012

ISTANBUL, — Turkey's national intelligence agency has snubbed a request from an Istanbul prosecutor to testify in the ongoing investigation into the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) on behalf of contacts with the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), media reports said Friday.

Hakan Fidan, head of the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), was summoned to testify Thursday together with two other former officials, while obtaining capture warrants for four other MİT officials, Todays Zaman reported.

But the agency sent a statement to the prosecutor's office saying that under MIT rules the prime minister's office must approve any request for cooperation with an investigation, private NTV television reported.

Reports say police are also searching homes in Ankara for four former MIT officials, for whom arrest warrants were issued.

Sources say new evidence in the KCK probe -- including testimonies from suspects and witnesses as well as letters exchanged between senior KCK members and PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, which prosecutors say were used for relaying orders for attacks -- has led to the three men being summoned. In addition, individuals recently arrested in connection with the KCK probe were MİT agents and information provided by these individuals was also taken into consideration. The prosecution suspects that some of these agents might have crossed sides and collaborated with the KCK.

Reports claim that according to documents in the case file the KCK was actually founded under MİT oversight. It has also been alleged that orders for some of the KCK's attacks were given from sources inside the MİT. Todays Zaman reported.

Fidan, who was appointed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, held secret talks in Oslo with the PKK in 2010.

Recordings of the talks were leaked in the media last year, sparking opposition ire and sending shockwaves through a public accustomed to Ankara's long-standing blanket refusal to talk to the PKK.

But the talks failed, and fighting between Turkey's military and Kurdish rebels has escalated.

In recent months, the government has also stepped up pressure on alleged rebel sympathisers.

The drive is part of a crackdown on the banned Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), the suspected political wing of the PKK. Fidan and two other MIT officials planned to testify as part of an ongoing probe into the KCK.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

Sources: AFP | | | Agencies

Copyright © 2012



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