Deputy PM Atalay denies reports of PKK contact
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay tells reporters that talks between government representatives and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are out of the question at the current moment and no place is going to be a safe haven for the PKK. AA photoDeputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay strongly rejected claims regarding the existence of ongoing talks between government representatives and members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) while speaking yesterday to the broadcasting station Kanal 7.
“Nowadays, we sometimes see in the press [claims regarding] an explicit ceasefire. We never uttered such a concept. Our security measures are continuing as before and will continue,” Atalay said.
They were following an integrated strategy at different levels from cross border operations to internal raids against the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the PKK, he said.
Atalay said talks between government representatives and the PKK were out of the question at the current moment. No place is going to be a safe haven for the PKK, he said, adding they were going to press on incessantly with winter operations against the organization.
Atalay’s comments came on the same day the governor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakir confirmed a military operation against the PKK on Mt. Görese was still underway. Over 50 PKK militants were caught in a pincer, while another 10 militants were killed during the operation that started Dec. 16 with the involvement of special operation units and helicopter gunship support, according to the Doğan news agency.
PKK militants were allegedly returning to their hideouts for the winter when security forces spotted them. Regional commanders of the PKK were also among the militants, according to reports.
“Certain state institutions were holding talks [with the PKK]. There may be some demands from certain quarters, but neither we nor our prime minister have issued any pledges or promises to anyone,” Atalay said in response to a journalist who inquired about claims by the PKK they had broken the ceasefire because the state had not lived up to its promises.
Meanwhile, security forces were put on high alert when a woman reportedly told them she had encountered on a train a PKK suicide bomber whose pictures she had seen at the Pamukova Police Headquarters. Security forces initiated a district wide search to locate the suspect codenamed “Ladin Irmak” who allegedly got off the train at the district of Pamukova in the northwestern province of Sakarya and left by foot.
“We are currently working on speeding up the trial [processes], if not on actually shortening apprehension periods. We are not publicizing it, as it has not yet matured,” Atalay said. The prime minister had also approved of the work, he said. k HDN