Reconciliation process with PKK out of question, Erdoğan says

Published 07.05.2019 13:58
Updated 07.05.2019 16:19

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dismissed the possibility of a reconciliation process with the PKK terrorist organization amid rumors that PKK terrorist leader Abdullah Öcalan's meeting with his lawyers was signaling such a move.

"A reconciliation process is out of question," Erdoğan said.

He noted that the terrorist has recently spoken with brother Mehmet Öcalan, who visited him at Imralı Prison.

Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also commented about speculations about Öcalan's statement, saying that the government is clear about its stance.

"There is no new reconciliation process. This is a procedure. We are clear in our thinking and opinions," said Altun.

"His message to the YPG proves Turkey's view that the PKK and the YPG and SDF are all linked," Altun said regarding Öcalan's message to the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan met with his lawyers last week for the first time since 2011.

"This is the first meeting with the lawyers since 2011. The meeting lasted approximately one hour [on May 2]," Rezan Sarıca, one of his lawyers, said on Monday at a press conference in Istanbul.

The jailed leader of the PKK terrorist group called on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella organization that is dominated by the PKK's Syrian affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG), to pursue solutions in Syria other than through conflict, according to a statement read by his lawyers.

Turkey captured Öcalan in February 1999 and imprisoned him on the heavily fortified island of İmralı in the Sea of Marmara where he has been kept for 20 years.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.

In early 2013, under then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish government launched an initiative publicly known as "the reconciliation process" to end the decades-old conflict with the PKK. The process stalled in 2015 after the murder of a number of police officers and soldiers, which the PKK claimed responsibility for.

The SDF drove Daesh from northeastern Syria and captured almost all the Syrian territory located on the right bank of the Euphrates River including Raqqa, once dubbed Daesh's capital, now lying in ruins.

Ankara has long voiced its objection to the use of the YPG in the fight against Daesh, saying it considers YPG's presence on its southern border a grave national security threat. Turkish military liberated Afrin district from the terrorist group with the Operation Olive Branch launched in January 2018.

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