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 Moves to question Turkish secret intelligence chiefs over KCK-PKK links quashed

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Moves to question Turkish secret intelligence chiefs over KCK-PKK links quashed  21.2.2012  

Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan with Turkey's intelligence MIT chief Hakan Fidan, Photo: AA See Related Links
February 21, 2012

ISTANBUL, — State prosecutors have abandoned an attempt to question Turkey's spy chiefs over past secret contacts with Kurdish militants after government moves to curb their investigation of the intelligence agency (MIT), state media said on Monday.

In his first comments on the affair, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who had pursued concession to end a 28-year-old conflict, rejected talk in media and political circles of a power struggle drawing in police, judiciary and the MIT.

"There is no conflict between this country's institutions. That is impossible," said Erdogan in a live video link to a meeting of his ruling AK Party on Sunday from his home in Istanbul, where he is recovering from surgery.

Prosecutors lifted an order summoning MIT head Hakan Fidan after a parliamentary vote on Friday outlawing any attempt to investigate him without Erdogan's consent. The opposition said it would challenge it in the constitutional court.

Erdogan's attempts to ease the separatist conflict, partly by offering concessions over Kurdish language, were viewed with deep suspicion by nationalists in a conservative establishment. The effort has since collapsed and fighting between Kurdish rebels, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, and troops has resumed.

Prosecutors had sought to question Fidan and other officials about secret talks held with representatives of the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Oslo in 2010 and infiltration of a PKK-linked group by MIT operatives.


The prosecutors' move to interview the MIT head touched on a sensitive area for Erdogan, who has succeeded in curbing the political power of the army since taking office in 2002 and is viewed with great suspicion by some because of an Islamist past.

Fidan and the MIT, which Erdogan controls, have repeatedly clashed with police over the detention and exposure of undercover agents during the arrests of hundreds of suspected PKK sympathizers, media said.

In tapes of the 2010 PKK talks leaked on the internet last year, Fidan, then the prime minister's special envoy, said Erdogan was prepared to take a great political risk to pursue peace talks.

State broadcaster TRT Haber said the prosecutor's office had revoked its summons to Fidan and an order for the arrest of four senior MIT personnel in connection with the Kurdish militant investigation.

The prosecutor's bid to question the spies was followed by a series of personnel changes within Istanbul police, where the investigation of Kurdish militants is focused - steps which analysts interpreted as a government response to the probe.

Three top intelligence and anti-terror police officials were initially transferred to Ankara and then another 10 were removed from the investigation of the organization linked to the PKK.

Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin said 700 Istanbul police officers had been transferred to eastern Turkey. But he described it as a routine move, unrelated to the MIT investigation.

Since 2009, some 700 people have been arrested over alleged links to the KCK, according to government figures. Kurdish media puts the figure at around 3,500.

The 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.

Over 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 prison.

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 nominate imprisoned Turkish publisher and human rights defender Ragıp Zarakolu who is in jail for KCK links for the Nobel Peace.

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. 

Compiled by from news agencies

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, Reuters | AFP | | Agencies 


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