PKK disarmament not far away, deputy PM says

PKK disarmament not far away, deputy PM says

PKK disarmament not far away, deputy PM says

A new process has begun that will expand the contribution of security units, politicians and other bodies in the resolution process, Beşir Atalay has said.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) may soon lay down its arms, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay has said, signaling more steps in efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue.

“Personally, I do not see [disarmament] as being very far away. I am both very hopeful and I don’t see it as being too far away,” Atalay said in a televised interview on July 24, saying the country was “now on quite a safe path.”

“This code is binding for both sides, so no one can generate excuses,” he added, in reference to a bill approved in Parliament last week. The code essentially grants legal immunity to state officials involved in the peace process.

“The people of the region will not return to violence, so we will take further steps,” Atalay said, adding that state institutions other than the National Intelligence Service (MİT) would play a role in talks to find a peaceful solution to the problem.

“The Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security has been founded for these issues. We have handed the coordination of the issue to them. They will also take roles in the talks,” he said.

A new process that will exceed the contribution of security units and in which politicians and other bodies will become more active has begun, Atalay said, also claiming that "some circles" were not in favor of the resolution process and were giving “wrong messages” in traditional and social media.

Speaking on July 22, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denied that he had "made concessions" during the ongoing process to find a solution to the Kurdish problem, while addressing the relatives of fallen soldiers at an iftar dinner in Ankara.

“We have made significant progress in the resolution process so far. We have not had any fallen soldiers recently as a result. I want to emphasize this once again: No concessions have been made in any way. We have never shaken hands with the leader of the terror [a phrase widely used for Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] or terrorists, unlike how some politicians have claimed,” Erdoğan said.