The Middle East’s strangest bedfellows are getting more cozy, as Turkey’s spy chief met the imprisoned head of the PKK last week. The AFP reports:
Turkey’s intel 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 Aug. 20.The head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), Hakan Fidan, met on Aug. 15 with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in his island prison, media quoted Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay as saying.The meeting came after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 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. […]“Öcalan has been clearly assured that Erdoğan will be a key follower of the [peace] process while in office as president,” the report said.
While Fidan has met with Öcalan before, this meeting was billed as particularly significant. Erdogan has just been elected President, an office through which he expects to transform the Turkish political system. Furthermore, the Turkish parliament recently gave sanction to the peace negotiations with the Kurds, initiated while Erdogan was still Prime Minister, that aim to end Ankara’s 40-year internal conflict with the PKK.Turkey and the PKK have both been working against ISIS, whom both regard as an enemy, in Iraq and Syria. Indeed, Ankara seemed to looked the other way when PKK fighters rushed to defend a Syrian Kurdish town against ISIS last month. While it’s too early to count the peace as a done deal, the meeting between the spymaster and the terror chief is a promising sign of rapprochement between two enemies who discovered they had the same enemy in common.