Turkish intel services ‘would even meet devil,’ says Deputy PM
AA photoA Feb. 28, 2015 agreement between ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) officials, dubbed the “Dolmabahçe Agreement,” was not the product of a “negotiation,” Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan has claimed, adding that the intelligence services “would meet even the devil” if needed.
“The state didn’t give up [on the peace process]. The terror organization and its stakeholders betrayed the process,” Akdoğan said late on Jan. 28.
Violence between the Turkish security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) reignited last summer, shattering the fragile peace process after a two-and-a-half-year de facto ceasefire.
Akdoğan was speaking before parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission, when commission members posed questions about the controversial “Dolmabahçe Agreement,” a 10-point peace plan.
“‘Dolmabahçe’ was not a negotiation, but a meeting. No agreement was reached either. [Jailed PKK leader Abdullah] Öcalan has presented his will for [the PKK] to lay down its arms and he declared this. The HDP announced this too and some articles were announced,” he added.
“Intelligence organizations have always held meetings [with Öcalan]. But at the moment, meetings are out of the question. Meetings [with Öcalan] took place on İmralı [island prison] when the [Nationalist Movement Party] MHP was in power too ... Intelligence services can hold meetings even with the devil if necessary,” Akdoğan said.
Öcalan issued his first call on the PKK to declare a ceasefire in 2013, while a joint press conference between the AKP government and the HDP was held at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul on Feb. 28, 2015. Deputy Prime Minister Akdoğan and HDP Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder read their own statements at Dolmabahçe, while Önder listed 10 articles summarizing Öcalan’s priorities. However, in July 2015 President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he did not approve of the meeting in Dolmabahçe.
Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence in İmralı Island Prison in the Marmara Sea after he was captured by Turkish security forces in Kenya in 1999, played a central role in the government-led peace process aimed at ending the three-decade long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and PKK militants since at least late 2012. Öcalan had been in dialogue with state officials, the HDP, and its predecessor the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).