Oslo meetings may be resumed

Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay’s recent statements regarding the Kurdish »»

Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay’s recent statements regarding the Kurdish issue have created many repercussions among columnists. Speaking on a TV show on Friday, Atalay said the government is “working on convincing terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] militants in northern Iraq to lay down their arms and give in.”

“Will there be another Oslo meeting [a meeting between the terrorist organization and government representatives]?” asks Gülay Göktürk in her Bugün daily article, arguing that there have been many signs signaling that another Oslo-like meeting will take place soon: the visit of a delegation from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to the US, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) senior official Nechirvan Barzani’s visit to Turkey and a recent meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to discuss possible roadmaps for solving the Kurdish issue.

Focusing on who should attend if the Oslo meetings are to be resumed, Göktürk says the Turkish state used to attend meetings through either National Intelligence Organization (MİT) officials or Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani or the US or a delegation of Wise Men, and the state’s indirect involvement in the meetings would create confusion and complication. For example, Erdoğan first said that his government had never met with the PKK terrorist organization, and some time later he admitted that he was the one who gave the order for the Oslo meetings. This is most probably because it does not principally seem right for a government to have an official meeting with a terrorist organization, but this is not an issue to be left vague and uncertain, she says.

Focusing on Atalay’s statement that “if the KRG in northern Iraq wants to strengthen its ties with Turkey, it should get the PKK out of northern Iraq,” Radikal’s Cevdet Aşkın says the current political developments are in Turkey’s favor because Arbil’s economic state depends on the oil it sells to Turkey; and Turkey has set as its condition for continuing the economic relationship with Arbil the PKK leaving the region. But considering all these, can we say that the PKK will accept laying down its arms? Aşkın thinks not. After all, the PKK has been saying that it will lay its arms down only if the Kurds receive the rights they are demanding from the government, especially at a time when a new constitution is being written. And isn’t this the crux of the so-called Kurdish issue anyway?