January 9, 2013

Fethullah Gülen backs peace talks between government and PKK

Yet another show of support for ongoing peace talks between the Turkish government and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been voiced, this time from Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who said every necessary step needs to be taken, even if some of these steps might seem unnerving at first, to maintain peace in the country.

In his latest weekly speech, broadcasted on website Herkul.org, Gülen said as long as national dignity and pride are not undermined, every necessary step should be taken to maintain peace because “there are benefits in peace.”

The Islamic scholar recalled that the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, which took place between Muslims and non-Muslims in the early days of Islam and established a 10-year-long peace in Mecca and Medina, included some articles which were very difficult for Muslims to accept at first but later turned out to be to their benefit.

“There could be some issues which we find unnerving. Some may say, ‘If only those talks had not taken place… If only that agreement had not been made… If only that consensus had not been reached. We, the Turkish nation, are so proud, we have dignity, we should not bow our head, we should say yes to certain things.' If some problems are to be resolved, we should act with the same considerations of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and do the necessary thing,” he said, adding that the security of the country should not be placed at risk.

“We should sometimes tolerate things we do not approve of to ensure that our country's stability continues and that it continues to be an influential power among other nations,” he said.

State officials and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan have been having talks to broker a deal for the disarming of the terrorist group. The talks with Öcalan are being carried out by National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan, whose position as a negotiator on behalf of the Turkish state has been confirmed by the government.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community, has waged a bloody campaign for self-rule in predominantly Kurdish-populated southeastern Anatolia since 1984. More than 40,000 people, including civilians and security forces, have been killed in clashes with the terrorist group.

Öcalan, imprisoned on İmralı Island in the Marmara Sea south of İstanbul since his capture in 1999, has significant influence among PKK members and supporters. The Turkish state believes talks with the terrorist head may lead to a timetable for withdrawal of PKK terrorists from Turkey and the eventual laying down of arms.

There is support for the peace talks from many circles in society including the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and Turkey's mainstream media.

Published on Today's Zaman, 08 January 2013, Tuesday

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