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December 30, 2012, Sunday

Yet again Öcalan-MİT meeting

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan openly admitted that the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) has frequently been visiting Abdullah Öcalan to find a solution to the Kurdish question.

Yalçın Akdoğan, Prime Minister Erdoğan's chief advisor and Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy, revealed some of the details of the meetings between Öcalan and the MİT.

Akdoğan, speaking to the daily Taraf, emphasized the fact that it would not be enough to have Öcalan call for a tactical ceasefire. The meetings should result in the expectation that the PKK will lay down its arms.

Akdoğan further argued, “Some groups, including the PKK, could damage the meetings process between the MİT and Öcalan, however, the AK Party government is determined to continue the negotiation process.”

There are many reasons to be skeptical about the possibility of getting any tangible results out of Öcalan and the MİT negotiations: Is it really possible for the AK Party and the MİT to end the meeting process successfully? How effective would Abdullah Öcalan be in bringing about a possible peace? Would the PKK listen to Öcalan without questioning his decision, his authority, and his order? Would the PKK in Europe listen what Öcalan says? Is the MİT really calculating the events in the right ways?

To me, it seems that the fundamental problem with such negotiations starts at the very beginning. The MİT thinks that almost all leaders of the PKK are somehow in the control of foreign intelligence agencies. Therefore, according to the MİT, Öcalan is the only viable leader who is not under any foreign intelligence agency's influence, and therefore the MİT thinks that empowering Öcalan's position is critical. If Turkey reinforces his position and makes him the undeniable leader of the PKK once again, then they could ask Öcalan to end the PKK violence in return for some guarantees given to Öcalan.

This calculation reveals two major problems: First, how much can you trust Öcalan? Öcalan is a very practical leader who has survived this long, and helped the PKK to survive for this long, because of his pragmatism. It would be a grave mistake to think that once he became the undeniable leader of the organization, he would end the violence.

I think Öcalan is smart enough to use the MİT's offer to become the indisputable leader, for sure, and then use that position to remove some of his opposition from within the PKK, which he could not do back in 2004, and then once he established a solid leadership council that would obey him and carry on the PKK's mission after his death, he would say a nice good-bye to the MİT. What Öcalan is trying to do is to secure the future of the PKK, not his own future. Therefore the MİT's calculation is wrong from the very beginning.

Second, we don't know what kind of changes we will see in the region. Consequently, what the MİT is trying to do is a very risky step. For instance, we don't know whether the Kurds and Arabs in Syria will fight over the oil-rich Hasaki region of Syria, an area currently under PKK control.

I don't think that the PKK would give up easily what they have gained in Syria. Forget about controlling the Hasaki region; in order to prepare itself, the PKK armed and trained 15,000 Kurds in Syria to prepare for an intense fight over the oil-rich territory. Once the PKK is able to control the rich Syrian province, would Turkey's plan of using Öcalan to convince PKK to lay down its arms be possible? I don't think so.

I think both Öcalan and the PKK see that they need some time to prepare for a better fight in Syria to control the oil rich Kurdish region after the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has ended. What MİT is trying to do is just aiding the PKK to control the oil of Syria.

That is yet another stupidity of the Turkish intelligence agency to deal with its enemy.


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