Turkey's home security chief leaves office

Turkey's home security chief leaves office

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkeys home security chief leaves office

This file photo shows Deputy PM Beşir Atalay (R) with Ambassador Murat Özçelik, who has left his post as Turkey’s Public Order and Security Undersecretary. AA photo

Turkey’s Public Order and Security Undersecretary Ambassador Murat Özçelik has resigned after long-running differences with deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay over strategies to resolve the Kurdish question and to end the terror problem. 

A decree allowing Özçelik to return to the Foreign Ministry was published by the Official Gazette yesterday. He is expected to be appointed to a foreign post in the coming days. 

Özçelik was appointed as the undersecretary of the key body tasked to combat the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2011 after serving as Turkey’s ambassador to Baghdad. His deep knowledge on the region and contacts with Iraqi Kurdish leaders brought him to the position. But the experienced diplomat reportedly complained that “there were no appropriate conditions left for him to continue in his position.” 

Disagreements erupted between Atalay and his bureaucrat due to a split in strategies. Özçelik had proposed to strengthen dialogue with Peace and Democratic Party (BDP) and address the party as a channel in efforts to convince the PKK to lay down arms. However, Minister Atalay and some circles in the government rejected this approach. 

Following the reports that appeared in Turkish media last month detailing “Turkey’s new Kurdish strategy,” which includes dialogue with the BDP in negotiations with the PKK, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç declined the new policy and said he was not aware of the strategy. Yet, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed that Turkey would negotiate with the BDP as part of its efforts to solve the Kurdish problem.