Turkish officials aided Kurdish PKK
rebels, prosecutor says
February 13, 2012
Turkish prime minister
Turkey's intelligence MIT chief Hakan Fidan, Photo: AA
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ISTANBUL, — A Turkish investigation of
links between Kurdish activists and militants has
uncovered evidence of state officials aiding the
separatists, a prosecutor said on Monday, fuelling
speculation about a power struggle within the
The statement from the Istanbul state prosecutor's
office coincided with police raids across the
country to detain around
people over alleged ties to the
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in the same
The arrests came less than a week after prosecutors
asked the head of the National
Intelligence Agency (MIT) and his predecessor to
testify over secret links between the PKK and the
agency, controlled by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip
The government has moved to block the questioning of
MIT operatives with a parliamentary bill requiring
Erdogan's permission for such a move. At the weekend
the prosecutor who ordered their questioning was
removed from the case.
However, Istanbul deputy chief prosecutor Fikret
Secen said in a written statement defending the
investigation that it was only directed at the
actions of individual officials and not against
government anti-terrorism policy.
"This investigation ... was launched due to evidence
giving rise to suspicion that some state officials
acted outside the duty given to them by the
executive organ and aided the (militant)
organisation in executing its operations," it said.
The head of MIT, Hakan Fidan, is close to Erdogan
and the current probe is seen as exposing tensions
between his organisation and elements within the
police and judiciary.
Istanbul prosecutors have asked their Ankara
counterparts to summon Fidan, while detaining four
other MIT officers for questioning but no action has
been taken so far.
The prosecutor's investigation is focused on an
organisation called the Union of Kurdistan
Communities (KCK), which the PKK is alleged to have
established with the aim of creating its own
political system in the mainly Kurdish southeast of
Around 150 politicians and activists are already
being tried in the region's main city of Diyarbakir
on charges of membership of an armed terrorist group
and hundreds more people have been detained in
Since 2009, some 700 people have been arrested over
alleged links to the KCK,www.ekurd.net
according to government
figures. Kurdish media puts the figure at around
KCK-trial began on October 18, 2010 when a Turkish
court began the trial
of 152 high profile Kurdish politicians and rights defenders,
accused of being the urban wing of the outlawed
separatist Kurdish PKK rebels.
7748 people were taken into
custody and over 3895 persons were
arrested in the scope of KCK operations during the past
nine months, the
pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party announced.
Dozens of BDP executives and employees are still in
At least 567 people were detained by police from 10
December 2011 to 3 January 2012. Among the
detainees, including mayors, students, children,
human rights activists and union members, over 350
were remanded in custody and sent to prison.
On February 4, 2012, members from the Swedish Parliament
Turkish publisher and human rights defender Ragıp Zarakolu
who is in jail for KCK links for the Nobel Peace.
SECRET OSLO TALKS
Security sources said those held on Monday were
believed to be involved in bomb attacks and illegal
protests and noted their detention came just two
days before the Feb. 15 anniversary of jailed PKK
leader Abdullah Ocalan's capture in 1999.
Prosecutors are also believed to want to question
MIT officials about secret talks they held in Oslo
with PKK representatives. The contacts came to light
last year through recordings on the Internet.
Some have interpreted the targeting of the MIT as a
nationalist warning to Erdogan against seeking any
negotiated settlement with the PKK. Erdogan is
currently recovering from his second bout of
intestinal surgery in three months.
Talks between the state and PKK were halted after
Erdogan's AK Party won a third term in office last
June with around 50 percent of the votes. The PKK
has returned to fighting using northern Iraq as a
refuge for operations in southeastern Turkey.
Erdogan, who has Islamist roots but whose AK party
includes centre-right and even strongly nationalist
elements, has pressed reforms in Turkey that have
shaken the political establishment since he was
first elected in 2002. He has cut back the influence
of the army and shaken up a conservative judiciary.
In a country rife with conspiracy theories, some
have also suggested an influential Islamic movement,
headed by Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim theologian
living in the United States, could be seeking to
clip Erdogan's wings.
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
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
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
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
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.
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