Turkish gov't launches fresh talks with PKK leader

2013-01-01 20:41:41 GMT2013-01-02 04:41:41(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

ANKARA, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's intelligence services have launched fresh talks with jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan in order to disarm the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) and end nearly three-decade insurgency, according to a top political adviser of prime minister.

"The goal is the disarmament of the PKK," Yalcin Akdogan, an adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said late Monday in an interview with NTV television.

The political adviser stressed that Ocalan, arrested in Kenya in 1999 and kept in a prison in Imrali Island since his conviction on terrorism charges, was "the main actor" in the efforts to find a solution to Kurdish conflict.

Akdogan cited previous talks between Turkish intelligence officials and Ocalan in 2011, which failed after a PKK attack in Silvan town of southeastern Diyarbakir province that killed 13 Turkish soldiers.

The National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) officials held a meeting with Ocalan on Dec. 23, 2012, urging the PKK to lay down arms, daily Hurriyet reported Tuesday. In return, Ocalan demanded direct contact with the PKK and asked for better prison conditions.

The government has banned the imprisoned Kurdish leader to meet his lawyers since 2011, citing that Ocalan had been using them for propaganda.

If both sides reach an agreement, the PKK, which has halted its operations due to winter conditions, would start disarming in the spring. High-ranking PKK militants, provided that they lay down arms, would be given the option of being exiled to countries that do not share borders with Turkey.

Despite the new round of talks, Turkish military continued its fight against PKK, killing 10 PKK militants in Lice town in southeastern Diyarbakir province on Monday, while eight Turkish F- 16 warplanes hit PKK targets in Northern Iraq late Monday.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms in 1984 in an attempt to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Since then, more than 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving the group.

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