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Turkey said to be in talks with PKK

Jan. 1, 2013 at 7:21 AM   |   Comments

ANKARA, Turkey, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Turkey has embarked on talks with an imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan's Workers Party with the aim of disarming it, a Turkish government adviser said.

Yalcin Akdogan, and adviser to Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Monday government officials have held talks with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan to end the 28-year-old struggle, the Turkish daily Today's Zaman reported Tuesday.

Akdogan described Ocalan as a "key actor" adding he has retained influence over the organization despite reports his leadership has been challenged in some areas.

"The main aim for the government is to disarm them. You cannot get results and abolish an organization through armed struggle alone," the paper quoted Akdogan saying.

While the government is cautious about the prospects of progress, "the organization [PKK] cannot get anywhere by waging an armed struggle," he said.

He said 2012 was disastrous for the PKK, whose attempts to initiate a "Kurdish Spring" failed.

"[PKK] announced 2012 as the year of victory, but it plainly became a disaster. It mobilized all its resources to fulfill its objective: to establish field control in rural areas and to push people into the streets for a revolutionary people's war," he said

The PKK has been designated by Turkey, the European Union and the United States as a terrorist organization.

Ocalan was captured in 1999 and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted when Turkey abolished the death penalty and he was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment. He was the sole prisoner on Imrali island from 1999 to 2009. Despite his incarceration he has published a number of books, the most recent in 2011.

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