The Turkish government has officialised secret talks underway between it and Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdish armed separatist group, the PKK. The PKK is considered a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States.
Jailed for life 13 years ago, Ocalan has been allowed visits from party colleagues for the first time and it seems a breakthrough may be on the cards.
Several people close to the talks are talking about “optimism” and expressing guarded hope of a resolution.
“This time at least the meetings are at the level of Head of National Intelligence Organization (MİT), someone who is in the position as the vice-prime minister outside the government, one of the closest to the prime minister and this is important in terms of the seriousness of this.
This is unlike the things that happened in the past, it is independent of government, yet it is directly within the knowledge of the Prime Minister and the government. Of course this is more convincing for the opposite side,” says Kurdish analyst Umit Firat.
Prime Minister Erdogan appears determined to make progress on the Kurdish issue, especially after a deadly upturn in terror actiivity in 2012 left scores of soldiers dead in the Turkish south-east.