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Entries in AKP (24)


Turkey Analysis: Kurdish Fighters Begin Withdrawal --- Is Peace on the Way? 

Prime Minister ErdoganAs part of peace talks, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has begun withdrawing forces in small groups from northern Turkey near the Black Sea, even though the PKK, backed by Turkish opposition groups, was unable to get Parliamentary oversight of the move.

So does this mean the "peace process" between the Erdogan Government and PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is on its way to resolving the decades-long crisis?

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Turkey Analysis: Erdogan's Risky Game on The Kurdish Issue

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoganOn the surface, there continues to be advance towards the "historic" resolution of the Kurdish issue. Dig a bit deeper, however, and you wll hit a major block: the ambitions of a Prime Minister trying to maintain and increase his power at every step of the process.

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Turkey Analysis: Erdogan's "One Leader, One Nation, One Market" --- Will It Succeed?

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoganIt is a busy and tricky time for the Erdogan Government : relations stuck with the European Union, a possible peace process to solve the Kurdish question, the long-awaited new Constitution, prospects of switching to a Presidential system, and next year's elections.

>The combination requires finely-adjusted diplomatic steps with opposition parties. For instance, the support of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) takes on importance in the Constitution-making process, while the main opposition faction, the Republican People's Party (CHP), has a role in the consensus over counter-terrorism.

So how to hold all this together? Despite some inconsistencies by the Government in its approach, there are three notions that are immutable: "One Leader, One Nation, One Market".

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Turkey Analysis: A Big Opportunity? Ankara's Talks with Imprisoned Kurdish Leader Ocalan

PM Erdogan & PKK Leader OcalanSo Turkish authorities have been speaking with the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan, since last month. Indeed, the head of the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), Hakan Fidan, visited Ocalan in his Imrali Island prison --- where he has been kept since 1999 --- for two days of one-to-one meetings. This was followed by the Erdogan Government’s high-profile if vague statements of a peaceful settlement on the Kurdish issue and by the dispatch of two experienced MPs from pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), to Imrali.

This is not the first occurrence of negotiations with Ocalan and the PKK --- two years ago, the MIT was involved in a series of meetings in Oslo. There are key differences in the recent talks, however.

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Turkey Special: Ankara is Overtaken By Events in Syria's Kurdistan

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Last week's Moscow trip was supposed to resolve the Erdogan Government's position, both over Syria and over its domestic affairs. Five days later, it has become history, one that offers no resolution for the emerging difficulties for the Prime Minister and his party.

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Turkey Analysis: Syria and Barzani Unsettle Ankara's Official Policy on Kurdistan

Prime Minister ErdoganThe Erdogan government will try to rely on a "security-first" agenda to challenge both the opposition parties and the PKK, at the same time promoting its synthesis of nationalism and Islam.

However, Ankara now has to review its calculation that playing the game with more players and more cards would turn the situation to its advantage. Both Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani's involvement and the changing Syrian situation pose a question: what will Erdogan do if an autonomous Kurdish region is declared not only in Syria but in southeastern Turkey?

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Turkey Live Coverage (14 June): Accusations and Struggle on the Kurdish Issue

1720 GMT: US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs José Fernandez has said that there is still room to expand the bilateral commercial ties even after a record 34 percent jump in bilateral trade volume last year. According to Fernandez:

The question is whether ties will be good or really good. Currently there are a number of areas where we cooperate very well, but now we’re thinking about how we can help expand and improve bilateral ties. 

One of our chief projects has been helping İstanbul achieve its ambitions to become a major financial center. We’re getting them in touch with members of the Securities and Exchange Commission, showing them the regulations, so they can see how it works. 

1640 GMT: Four members of PKK were killed by security forces in the district Idil of the eastern province of Sirnak after they had been spotted crossing the Turkish border from Syria.

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Turkey Live Coverage (11 June): The Government's Carrot-and-Stick on the Kurdish Issue

See also Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Regime on Its Last Legs?

2000 GMT: It is claimed by Today's Zaman that the Obama administration will anoounce seven countries including Turkey that will be exempt from sanctions since they have significantly cut oil purchases from Iran. 

1835 GMT: Turkish deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc said that no revision is planned to abolish specially authorized prosecutors and courts as part of a government plan to overhaul the Turkish criminal code. 

1505 GMT: It is claimed that the arrestment of BDP members including Van Mayor Bekir Kaya had been known in advance. According to this assertion, some prison cells had been emptied and readied even before they were detained. 

1500 GMT: Firat News Agency known by its close ties with the outlawed PKK, says 'KCK Executive Council member Cemil Bayık' evaluated the meeting between AKP and CHP as 'the usual policy of “trying to strain Kurds and making them surrender”'.

Besides, in response to the government's new initiative, KCK political committee reportedly declared that "any discussion or decision taken on the struggle of freedom without the will of our movement and our people is void!"

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Turkey Live Coverage (4 June): No Kurdish Problem At All?

See also Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: President Assad's "Real War"

1800 GMT: According Turkish daily Today's Zaman, Ankara welcomes political efforts to unseat Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as politicians in the Iraqi Parliament have collected enough signatures to hold a non-confidence vote. 

1710 GMT: President Abdullah Gul met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Istanbul. Abbas is also expected to talk to Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Davutoglu. Nothing specific regarding the content of the meetings has been revealed so far. 

1600 GMT: Syrian opposition activits declared the formation of a new military coalition named "the Syrian Rebels Front". Khaled al-Okla, a member of the new group, says it coordinates with the Free Syrian Army.

1440 GMT: The first Mavi Marmara court hearing is scheduled for 6 November. As known, the indictment charging four Israeli commanders for full life sentence was accepted last month.

1335 GMT: Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag says that Turkey already has a semi-presidential system which needs to be upgraded to the presidential system.

1245 GMT: An air-supported operation against PKK is continuing in the Beytussebap district of the province of Sirnak. Sikorsky and Cobra helicopters are bombarding the Kato Mountain.

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Turkey Live Coverage (24 May): Erdogan Government Sidelining Its Minister of Interior?

1220 GMT: Following Minister of Interior İdris Naim Şahin's recent announcement that the order of the Uludere operation  --- which killed 34 civilians in January --- was given by top air force commanders, the opposition BDP's deputy Hasip Kaplan has responded in Parliament:

Let us ask this to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Mehdi Eker, since the Defence Minister is not present here. He will give a better answer. Which beast gave that order?

1100 GMT: A deputy of the opposition Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Leyla Zana, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of spreading propaganda for PKK.

Zana was convicted in 1994 for having links to PKK and she was released in 2004.

1030 GMT: The Deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Hüseyin Çelik, criticised Minister of Interior İdris Naim Şahin for his recent remarks on the Uludere incident in January, which killed 34 civilians as they were smuggling goods from Iraq. Çelik disowned Şahin's claim that the slain were smuggling for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), as “extras” of the militant group. Çelik said:

We think this approach and style by Mr. Minister is not humane. It is also clear that the style and approach of Mr. Minister does not belong to the AK Party. It is not possible to get something right from something wrong. If they had been captured alive, they would be put on trial on charges of smuggling, but this incident overshadowed the smuggling issue.