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Turkey makes 'real progress' in solution process

British diplomat Jonathan Powell has expressed his optimism over Turkey's 'solution process' which is aimed at ending the conflict with the outlawed PKK.

Turkey makes 'real progress' in solution process


A British diplomat has appreciated Turkish government’s efforts in the ongoing "solution process" that is aimed at ending the decades-long conflict with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, also known as the PKK.

Jonathan Powell, who was the chief of staff to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and was also the chief negotiator during the Northern Ireland peace talks, made the comments during a speech at a conference titled "Talking to Terrorists -- How to End Armed Conflict?" in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Powell said he was "optimistic" about Turkey's “solution process." But at the same time he also said that there was no Northern Ireland model that could just be picked up and applied elsewhere. "All conflicts are different, their causes are different and their solutions will be different.

"There are still many problems in Northern Ireland, but there will be no getting back to trouble or civil war," he added.

He also clarified that he was not an expert on the Kurdish issue, but noted that the Turkish government had made a lot progress in the last decade.

"Who could imagine 10 years ago that a (Turkish) spy chief talking to (PKK leader) Ocalan in Imrali? It would be unimagined. It is a very real progress has been made. I think the (Turkish) government deserves credit," he added.

The Turkish government launched an initiative in early 2013, popularly known as the "solution process," to end the conflict with the outlawed PKK, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey as well as by the U.S. and the European Union.

In another historic step in the solution process, imprisoned PKK head, Abdullah Ocalan also called on Feb. 28 for PKK to hold a conference to discuss disarmament.

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