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 Secret talks reported between Turkey and imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan

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Secret talks reported between Turkey and imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan  11.7.2012  

A Kurdish protester flashes a victory sign in front of a flag with a portrait of jailed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan. Photo: Reuters
July 11, 2012

ERBIL, — A source close to Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), informed Rudaw that a meeting between him and the Turkish state has taken place in his cell on Imrali Island.

Ilhami Isik, also known as Balikci, told Rudaw that a delegation from the Turkish state visited Ocalan on June 26.

Balikci was visiting Ocalan that day and said that, on this visit, "Ocalan did not talk like before.”

“Currently, he is busy writing a roadmap for solving the Kurdish issue which consists of seven articles. At the same time, he supports the statements of Leyla Zana." Balikci said.

Last month, Zana, an independent Kurdish MP in Turkish Parliament, gave an interview to Hurriyet newspaper in which she said “the Turkish prime minister and leader of Justice and Development Party (AKP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, can resolve the Kurdish issue in Turkey.”

Balikci believes Zana consulted with Ocalan before speaking to Hurriyet. Zana also stated that war and weapons were no longer viable solutions to the Kurdish issue, and met with Erdogan after the interview was published.

Official talks between Turkey and the PKK, including meetings with Ocalan and visits by his lawyers and relatives, came to a halt after an attack on Farqin on July 14, 2011 in which 13 Turkish soldiers were killed, and with the release of a recording of a secret meeting between the PKK and the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in Oslo.

However, some media outlets insisted talks with Ocalan were ongoing, a claim reiterated by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Last week, Aydinlik newspaper reported that Ocalan was transferred from Imrali to an MIT guesthouse near the Turkish province of Bursa, where he was visited by an American delegation.

Turkish journalist Avni Özgürel met with PKK military leader Murat Karayilan in the Qandil Mountains and reported that talks between the PKK and Turkish state were being carried out under the supervision of the United Kingdom.

"The English are mediating between the PKK and MIT. Adem Uzun represents the PKK in these meetings with the support of Cemil Bayik and Karayilan," Özgürel said.

Rudaw tried to contact Adem Uzun, leadership committee member of the Kurdish National Congress (KNK), at his residence in Brussels, but was unable to reach him.

Some say that Bayik, a senior PKK leader, is intentionally invited into these talks in order to prevent further hindrances.

"This time the talks will last longer and will not be interrupted by violence and conflicts," Balikci said.

Osman Ocalan, Ocalan's brother and former member of the PKK leadership council, believes that the Turkish state is holding talks "with Leyla Zana and Ocalan at the same time because they know they are not possible without Ocalan."

"A secret deal between Ocalan and the Turkish state is possible, because Ocalan cannot remain without a solution and he needs to put forward a roadmap at this stage," he added.

Osman Ocalan, who separated from the PKK in 2004, supports the efforts of Zana and believes her initiatives are not meant to corner Ocalan and PKK.

"At this time, the PKK leadership is not taking any steps towards a solution, and the initiative of Zana serves to find a solution. The demands of Zana are the same as those of the PKK and BDP (Peace and Democracy Party), but hers are independent. Zana must not let her initiatives be interpreted as against the PKK or BDP," he said.

According to Osman Ocalan, any project approved by Ocalan will be accepted by the PKK as well.

These statements come at a time when the Turkish newspaper Sabah has published sections of a letter written by Ocalan from his cell in Imrali last year. In the letter, Ocalan requested that the Turkish Ministry of Justice not allow his lawyers to visit him anymore because they had distorted his messages to the public. He goes on to say the PKK and BDP were complicit in this distortion as well.

Seydi Firat, one of 15 cadres of the PKK who returned to Turkey based on a call from Ocalan, was imprisoned for five years and later founded the Peace Council of Turkey. He believes the PKK will lay down its weapons if peace talks continue in Oslo.

Firat was not aware of any talks being held in Imrali, but said many who he had spoken to confirmed that Zana made her statements to the press with Ocalan’s approval.

“Three months ago, Zana was saying that weapons were the only protectors of the Kurds. How could she support a civil solution in Hurriyet newspaper and change her mind about weapons in such a short period of time without directives from Ocalan? In some time, we will know the truth for sure," Firat said.

Firat also confirmed that there are serious efforts in the Kurdistan Region to persuade the PKK to lay down its weapons. "The U.S. is the major supporter of this process. According to the scenarios that are circulating, the PKK will announce a ceasefire at the beginning of the month of Ramadan, and as peace continues they will lay down weapons,” he said.

“A permanent laying down of weapons will be discussed after these two stages," Firat added.

By Hemin Khoshnaw - Rudaw

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