Erdoğan satisfied with PKK leader’s attitude, eyes end to conflict
ANKARA - Anatolian News Agency
"Currently there is a shift to a certain attitude supporting the laying down of arms,” Erdoğan said during a live TV interview on private broadcaster Haberturk.Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has expressed his hopes for the ongoing peace process, speaking positively about the attitude of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is currently serving a life sentence on İmralı island prison.
“[Kurdish leaders] are saying ‘we will do what İmralı says.’ If there are sincere in this then İmralı is taking steps in a manner that satisfies our expectations. Currently there is a shift to a certain attitude supporting the laying down of arms,” Erdoğan said during a live TV interview on private broadcaster Haberturk.
The peace process initiated at the end of December between the Turkish government and Öcalan has created a sense of optimism that the three-decade-long armed conflict may be resolved.
Erdoğan said the government had no intention of stepping back from the ongoing talks, stressing that operations would stop at the end of the process. “It’s not as if operations are the only task of my security officers. My soldier is in his barracks, my police officer is in his station. They won’t go anywhere else,” he said, adding that an end to the conflict would bring economic prosperity to the whole region.
'History won't forgive' those who accuse former Chief of General Staff
The prime minister also repeated his criticism of the long-term detention of a number of army commanders. Referring to former Chief of General Staff, retired Gen. İlker Başbuğ, who is being tried under arrest in the alleged Ergenekon coup plot, Erdoğan said that accusing former generals of being members of a terrorist organization was a “serious mistake.”
“History won’t forgive [those who claim] that İlker Başbuğ was a member of a terrorist organization. The Turkish Armed Forces is an organization, its a constitutional one. This approach is mistaken,” he said.