Gov’t denies talks with Öcalan or PKK heads, vows more military operations

Gov’t denies talks with Öcalan or PKK heads, vows more military operations

Gov’t denies talks with Öcalan or PKK heads, vows more military operations

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A senior official has denied claims that the government is conducting secret talks with the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, or any other PKK leaders, saying operations against PKK militants in east and southeast Turkey will continue. 

“Meetings with the organization [PKK] or İmralı are out of question,” Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan told state-run Anadolu Agency on Jan 20. İmralı is the name of the island in which Öcalan is serving life sentence and is often used to refer to Öcalan.    

Accusing media groups close to the PKK of “disinformation and manipulation,” Akdoğan said the government’s “main paradigm has not changed in the fight against terror.” 

“Our government continues to embrace our people. Our services and investments continue. The reform process is ongoing. We should provide public order for the security of our people’s life and property. That is how we defeat the terrorist organization’s plans through our security policies. Beyond that, there are no talks with İmralı,” he said. 

The PKK’s aim of intensifying clashes in urban centers in southeastern Turkey is to impose its own hegemony by force of arms, Akdoğan also said. He claimed that the reason why the operations in response were taking so long was the “sensitivity of security forces in keeping civilians unharmed.”   

Relocation of Hakkari and Şırnak

Meanwhile, Akdoğan denied that the government’s recent decision to relocate the provincial centers of Hakkari and Şırnak are part of intensified security policies, saying it was instead part of Ankara’s plan to lend more support to the development of these cities. 

In line with this, he underlined the need for economic development of the region in the aftermath of operations as locals have suffered much “due to the terrorist organization’s oppression.”

Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş also emphasized recently that the relocation had been planned long ago, adding that a coordination group under his leadership with the participation of eight ministers has been established in order to facilitate “rehabilitation work.” 

Kurtulmuş denied claims that people living in these areas will be relocated to other cities. 

“There is no such a project to move Kurds from one city to another. Our Kurdish brothers are everywhere in Turkey. No city or region belongs solely to Kurds; our Kurdish brothers live in all 81 provinces of Turkey,” he said.