Turkey reassures Ocalan on Kurdish peace talks to end conflicts

ANKARA - Turkey's spy chief assured the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in a secret meeting last week that the state will press ahead with the peace process to end 30 years of conflict, media reports said on Wednesday.

Turkey's National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) head Hakan Fidan, met on Friday with PKK chief Abdullah Ocalan in his island prison, media quoted Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay as saying.

The meeting came after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the August 10 presidential election – and was aimed at ending any uncertainty over the fate of peace process between Turkey and Kurdish militants under his presidency, the reports said.

The Cumhuriyet newspaper reported that what made Fidan's visit "exceptional" was the fact that it came just after the election, recalling that Fidan had met with Ocalan on a few occasions over the last 18 months. It said that the visit was aimed at answering the question "will Erdogan continue the peace process when he takes the presidency?"

"Ocalan has been clearly assured that Erdogan will be a key follower of the (peace) process while in office as president," Cumhuriyet said. The newspaper noted that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is widely expected to become prime minister while Fidan is favourite to become foreign minister. It said the visit to Ocalan was aimed at passing on the message that the peace process will continue "independent of individuals."


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