TURKEY tr-politics

Gül defends secret talks

ANKARA- Hürriyet Daily News | 9/18/2011 12:00:00 AM |

President Abdullah Gül and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu voice their support for the Turkey’s intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, whose under fire for secret talks

Top state officials on Sunday defended secret meetings between the country’s intelligence organization and senior representatives of an outlawed terror organization, describing them as a natural duty of the secret services.

The officials also praised the performance of Turkey’s intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, at the meetings.

“The purpose [of the meetings] is to end terror,” President Abdullah Gül told reporters before his departure to Germany. “All means of eradication of terror have been running in the framework of a certain strategy. The intelligence organization undertakes its job within this framework.”

Fidan’s conversation with senior members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, was leaked to a website last week. Turkey has been fighting against the PKK for nearly three decades, a fight in which 40,000 lives have been lost, but due to the sensitivity of the issue, the government categorically denied negotiations with the PKK in the past.

“Every country has an institution dealing with these kinds of processes and meetings. This is the intelligence. Thus, it is only natural for our intelligence organization to be engaged with Turkey’s most important problem and to be part of this process,” Gül said.

Responding to Gül’s remarks, the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said the meeting did not take place between the National Intelligence Organization, or MİT, and the PKK but between the Prime Ministry and the PKK. “Mr. President should know the difference. No one should misguide the people,” CHP chief Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters Sunday.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also defended the meetings between MİT and the PKK members but clarified that the meetings took place after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan instructed MİT. “What will MİT do if it does deal with this [terror problem]? The state functions upon the government’s instructions. Of course, they have been given this instruction,” he said.

Davutoğlu’s words came in response to criticism from the opposition parties, which slammed the ruling party for allegedly deceiving the public opinion by saying that “it was not the government but the state who negotiated with terrorists.”

When asked about the state of talks with the PKK, Davutoğlu said a nonviolent climate was the precondition for this kind of process. “Unfortunately the ground for negotiations vanishes when there are terror acts,” he said. “We only talk to those who want to talk and not those who flex muscles against the state. A state cannot remain idle to such challenges.”

Linking the release of the MİT-PKK talks tape with Turkey’s rising profile both in its region and in the world, Davutoğlu joined Erdoğan in casting suspicions that Israel could be behind the leak. “Mr. Fidan is investigating the leak. A necessary retaliation would be made afterward,” he added.



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