The dialogue process the Turkish government initiated between the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) chief, Hakan Fidan, and the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, has begun to have positive repercussions both in the U.S. and the EU, the Turkish Daily News reported..
Speaking to daily Milliyet, U.S. President Barack Obama said they hailed a “peaceful solution,” while the EU brought the subject to its agenda last week.
After Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said he was hopeful about the talks during a European Parliament meeting he attended Feb. 6, an increasing number of support messages came from the EU authorities. Along with the favoring statements of EU Presidency Minister Lucinda Creighton, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle also said they wanted to contribute to the process.
Evaluating the statements, Turkey’s EU minister and chief negotiator, Egemen Bağış, said the signs from Brussels were also regarded positively in Ankara, causing them to expect “concrete cooperation.” Bağış answered questions of the Hürriyet Daily News as follows:
- “During a period in which harsh statements prevail with regards to EU-Turkey affairs, unexpected support came to the process of dialogue with the PKK. Some even interpreted it as “the paths to the EU pass through İmralı island,” referring to an old remark uttered by former Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz for Diyarbakır. Do you agree with that?”
“So far, we have not heard such a statement from any EU authority, and we would not appreciate it if they said so. The position of chief negotiator is based in Ankara, not İmralı. The EU process can only progress through the Parliament’s General Assembly.
“We expect the media groups, which manipulate the statements of Europe and reflect them in a provocative way, to act more responsibly. We know some former politicians, who proposed certain cities as key locations for the progress of the EU process, and currently, headlines resembling these former remarks will not make any contribution to the EU and solution processes; they will only hinder them. To speak frankly, we cannot determine which side they are on as [long as] we see such attitudes.”
- “Füle said, ‘The successful completion of the peace process will accelerate Turkey’s full membership negotiations with the EU.’ How do you consider it?”
“Many EU authorities including Mr. Füle have issued positive statements on the disarmament process of the PKK. We attach importance to such comments; however, we also expect them to be turned into ‘concrete cooperation.’
“Of course, ending terrorism and silencing arms are crucial for a peaceful atmosphere in Turkey. When we achieve this atmosphere, we will also have the opportunity to acquire higher standards of democracy and liberties. And the EU process will naturally gain speed as a result of it.
“But I would like to remind our European fellows that the political obstacles we are exposed to have brought the most harm to the EU process. If these obstacles did not exist, Turkey’s EU process would be naturally accelerated, and covering these obstacles with the ongoing peace process would be an opportunist attitude.
“It would be right for the European countries to form concrete cooperation with Turkey and fight against terrorism in the ongoing process rather than showing concern about their reflections in the EU process.”