During a meeting on the 3rd January at the Fifth Annual Ambassadors Conference held in Ankara, the Undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization MÏT Hakan Fidan is quoted as saying that “Imrali is one of the actors in this process. What needs to be done is being done.”

Leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, has announced that his party ‘cautiously’ backed talks between Turkey’s Intelligence agency and Abdullah Öcalan.

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin also stated on the same day that the government had authorized the visit of 2 of Kurdish MPs to Imrali Island, where Öcalan is held, for the first time since his imprisonment in 1999. Ergin said that the visit by Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) member Ayal Akat Ata and independent deputy and co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Ahmet Turk was considered by the Turkish Government to be “a helpful step for the country” and that visits may continue as long as the process is not ‘abused’.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who supports the International Peace Initiative, stated today that these steps by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan towards a non-violent resolution are “realistic, pragmatic and praiseworthy.” In reference to the end of South African apartheid he said,

 “A political solution, through dialogue and negotiation, was the only way to find lasting peace in our country. I hope and pray that through dialogue and negotiations all obstacles will be removed so that all the people of Turkey can live in peace and harmony.”      

The International Peace Initiative strongly supports these encouraging signs of dialogue by both parties, and will continue to work for the peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue in Turkey by placing the issue on the international agenda and assisting the parties to gain trust and respect.

Issued: 9th January 2013