Turkish Minister denies protocol with General Staff concerning PKK withdrawal

Türkiye Materials 19 April 2013 09:11 (UTC +04:00)
Turkish Minister denies protocol with General Staff concerning PKK withdrawal
Turkish Minister denies protocol with General Staff concerning PKK withdrawal

Interior Minister Muammer Guler on Thursday denied media reports claiming that his ministry will sign a protocol with the General Staff according to which the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will not carry out any operations against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) without permission from the governor of a province while the terrorist group leaves the country.

Media reports talked about such a protocol on Thursday which they said aims to prevent any confrontation between the TSK and the PKK during the withdrawal process.

Guler said it is out of the question for his ministry to send orders to governors concerning the PKK's withdrawal.

PKK terrorists are expected to leave Turkey as part of ongoing talks between state officials and PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan which aim to resolve the country's long-standing Kurdish and terrorism problems.

According to the reports, operatives of the PKK in the Kandil Mountains have requested measures that will ensure the withdrawal of the PKK terrorists safely from Turkish soil. In the 1990s, many PKK terrorists were executed while withdrawing from the country after a cease-fire. The PKK fears the same thing could happen this time.

The reports said the government expects to ease the PKK's concerns with the protocol, as part of which orders for operations will be given by governors.

A mandate granted to the TSK by the Turkish Parliament to carry out cross-border strikes in northern Iraq in pursuit of PKK terrorists will expire on Oct. 17. The TSK carries out operations based on this mandate.

There are claims that if the PKK withdraws its forces by autumn, the government may not push for the renewal of the cross-border mandate for the TSK.

The PKK leader is expected to make the announcement for the PKK withdrawal this week. Reportedly, Ocalan told a group of pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies who visited him in jail on Sunday that a consensus has been reached for the withdrawal of PKK terrorists from Turkey at the end of ongoing talks with the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

Ocalan, imprisoned on the island of İmralı in the Marmara Sea, and MİT officials have been engaged in negotiations since October of last year. The negotiations have come to be called the "peace process" or the "settlement process." In a historic letter in March that was read by BDP deputies at a Nevruz celebration, Ocalan ordered his organization's militants to pull out from Turkey as part of a new "era of peace" in which no guns or violence will be used to pursue the Kurdish cause. Since then, the way in which the terrorists will leave the country has become a hot topic of discussion.