Turkish interior minister to hold key role in Kurdish peace process

Turkish interior minister to hold key role in Kurdish peace process

Turkish interior minister to hold key role in Kurdish peace process

Interior Minister Efkan Ala will meet Thursday with two deputies who held meetings with Öcana and KCK leaders. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Two deputies who recently held meetings with the outlawed Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) leaders in Northern Iraq are expected to meet Turkey’s newly appointed Interior and Justice Ministers on Jan. 2.

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy group head Pervin Buldan and the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) deputy co-chair Sırrı Süreyya Önder will meet with the new Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ and Efkan Ala on Jan. 2 over the ongoing negotiations to find a peaceful solution for the Kurdish issue.

Buldan and Önder went to the Kandil Mountains late Dec. 28 to receive a response to the letter of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), imprisoned for life on İmralı Island. Buldan and Önder did not receive a written response to Öcalan’s letter from the leaders of the KCK, the urban wing of the PKK, because they have not prepared a written response. They are expected to hold another meeting with Öcalan on İmralı Island over the weekend, following their meeting with Ala and Bozdağ.

The two deputies’ meeting with Ala will stand as a significant step in the ongoing process, as the new interior minister is expected to be the key government official actively monitoring the negotiations.

Former Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin and his successor Muammer Güler did not have any active roles in the meetings with Öcalan over the Kurdish peace process. Instead, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay and former Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin were holding active roles in the process.

Ala was working closely with Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan over the process in his previous post, Undersecretary of the Prime Ministry.

Ala, the only new minister among all 10 replacements who is not a member of Parliament, took over his new post as the interior minister on Dec. 26.

The resolution or peace process, also dubbed the “negotiations,” refers to an ongoing government-led initiative aimed at ending the long-running Kurdish issue by ending the three-decade-old conflict between security forces and the PKK.

Öcalan began talks with Turkish officials last year to halt the conflict that has left more than 40,000 people dead over the past three decades. In March, He ordered his fighters to cease fire.