World Bulletin/News Desk
The details of a rare meeting between Kurdish lawmakers and terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan will be revealed on Monday, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has said.
On Thursday BDP deputy Ayla Akat Ata and prominent Kurdish politician Ahmet Türk visited Öcalan on İmralı Island, where he has been held in virtual isolation since his capture in 1999, to negotiate ending the Kurdish conflict, which has killed tens of thousands over three decades.
The meeting came days after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's chief adviser said the government was discussing disarmament with the militants.
BDP Ağrı deputy Halil Aksoy announced on Friday that the content of the Öcalan meeting will be revealed by BDP officials on Monday in the Turkish capital of Ankara.
The meeting stirred a new round of debates over the nature of the talks with the PKK leader to solve the festering Kurdish question, which is seen as a litmus test for the maturity of Turkish democracy.
Nurettin Canikli, deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) parliamentary group, said Turkish authorities have made "important progress" in talks with Öcalan aimed at ending the Kurdish conflict.
"Talks have reached a certain stage, some important progress has been made and some results have been achieved, or will be achieved," Canikli told reporters in Ankara.
Erdoğan's chief adviser, Yalçın Akdoğan, wrote in the Star daily on Friday that there is no question of suspending or halting the fight against terrorism. Akdoğan also spoke to reporters, saying terrorism is a significant problem that cannot be solved overnight.
"The government should not hurry up in its process of dealing with the Kurdish issue, but should act with determination and common sense," he further stated.
The Fırat news agency, which is close to the PKK, reported on Friday that the recent meetings with Öcalan were welcomed by Murat Karayılan, a senior commander of PKK forces in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq, who said the PKK leader should also contact the PKK operatives in the mountains.
Turkish media reported on Thursday that National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan spent two days on İmralı Island to hold negotiations with Öcalan on behalf of the Turkish state and ensure that Öcalan agrees to a timetable for withdrawal of PKK militants from Turkey and eventual disarmament.
Sources close to the government had earlier announced that such a timetable has been agreed on, although details of it have not been made public.
Karayılan defined these meetings as “very much to the point and significant” but added that Öcalan should also contact PKK operatives about disarmament, according to Fırat's report. Karayılan also called on the Turkish government to take more solid steps to solve the Kurdish question.
The Turkish government should cease its operations against the PKK, Karayılan said, criticizing the detentions involved in the investigation of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), which is believed to operate as the urban wing of the PKK.
An arrest warrant for the four was also withdrawn, Gulden Sonmez, a lawyer for the victims, wrote on Twitter after a closed door hearing in Istanbul.
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