A PKK-affiliate website has released an almost 50-minute long voice recording that reveals secret talks between the representatives of the Turkish government and the PKK, a terrorist organization according to Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
It is said that the tape was recorded in Oslo and the Turkish government was represented by Hakan Fidan, the undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). Fidan explains in the tape that he directly represents Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan.
In the same day that the Turkish government warns that it may launch a cross-border land offensive against PKK militants in northern Iraq, the leak is perceived an an attempt by the terrorist organization to change the course.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan had earlier told that "the state may negotiate with the PKK, but not the government" and those who allege that AKP talked to the terrorist organization were "ignoble if they can't prove it." His aide Bülent Arınç had also claimed that the government is not "that rascal."
The tape disproves these strong statements, but I don't believe that many Turks would be furious at the government because of the contents of this tape. However, I still can point out several details in the tape that should make any Turkish citizen concerned. Some of them are:
1) Political negotiation is an art by itself and I am not an expert. But I still think that Fidan's assistant shouldn't have addressed to the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as "the leadership," a term which is exclusively used by the members of the PKK, when talking to the representatives of this terrorist organization. (Fidan's assistant also refers to him as "Mister," but it is not that grave.)
2) There is a foreign voice in the tape. He's got British accent. It is said that it belongs to the representative of a third country. If there is such a foreign interlocutor, why didn't they tell us before? OK, this is a secret negotiation, but secrecy to this extent is incompatible with democracy and transparency. As an instance, the White House had publicly announced or leaked to the media almost all details of the talks between their representatives and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
3) And the most horrifying part of the tape... The PKK representative says that "their forces" are everywhere in Turkey. "We know it, you stuffed our metropolises with explosives," Fidan's assistant replies. "Forget about them," the PKK representative continues, "We should proceed with these negotiations." And Fidan's assistant says that "it will still be harder to proceed while seeing them (bombs)."
So the Turkish government is simply negotiating as a hostage to terrorism. The PKK, which was virtually defeated when the AKP government came to power, is once again strong enough to threaten Turkish cities and civilians, and our government is just talking to them.
So, ten years ago, I was completely safe. Now there may be a PKK bomb next door in my apartment and my government is negotiating with the people who put that bomb, instead of taking the European way -putting them to prison- or at least the good, old American way -remember the funeral of Osama Bin Laden, organized by Barack Obama?
Shortly, the leaked tape is a proof of the absolute failure of the anti-terror policies of the AKP governments in the last decade.