Only 15 pct of PKK forces have withdrawn from Turkey, PM says
During a meeting on Wednesday with the Wise People Commission, which is tasked with working on the details of the settlement process aimed at ending the decades-old conflict with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said only 15 percent of PKK forces have so far withdrawn from Turkish soil Today`s Zaman reported.
The Wise People Commission came together with Erdogan in İstanbul in a meeting finalizing its work. According to reports, Erdogan said during the meeting that only 15 percent of PKK forces have pulled out of Turkey, while the remaining 85 percent are still within its borders.
In a bid to resolve the country's decades-old terrorism problem, at the end of last year the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government launched negotiations with the PKK's jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who is in prison on İmrali Island in the Sea of Marmara. In recent months, Ocalan called on PKK terrorists to lay down their arms and leave Turkey. In response to Ocalan's call, senior PKK leader Murat Karayilan announced that the withdrawal of the PKK's armed units from Turkey would begin on May 8.
The Wise People Commission submitted their final reports, which summarize the two-month study of each group from seven regions, to the prime minister during the meeting on Wednesday.
The commission had also concluded last week that a new civilian, democratic constitution is needed for a permanent solution to the problem.
Out of the 63 members of the commission, three, Murat Belge, Baskin Oran and Mustafa Kumlu, were not present at the final meeting. Belge and Oran had formerly announced that they would not attend the meeting in protest of what they termed the insulting and dismissive discourse towards demonstrators Erdogan adopted during and after the Gezi Park protests as well as the prime minister's description of the imprisoned PKK leader, who, in cooperation with the government, is conducting the settlement process.
Apart from Erdogan, the AK Party was represented in the meeting by Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, Interior Minister Muammer Guler, Culture and Tourism Minister Omer Celik, AK Party spokesman Huseyin Celik, Prime Ministry Undersecretary Efkan Ala and Erdogan's daughter, Sumeyye Erdogan, who is serving as an advisor to him.