Turkey issued arrest warrants for four current and former employees of the state intelligence agency in a probe into an organization that officials say is the urban arm of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
The warrants, reported by the state-run Anatolia news agency, came after the head of the National Intelligence Organization, Hakan Fidan, refused to testify in an Istanbul prosecutor’s case against the group, the Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK. The government says the KCK is the urban arm of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.
Turkish intelligence officials held meetings with PKK leaders under government instructions, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in September.
Erdogan summoned Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin yesterday to discuss whether the prosecutors have the legal authority to ask Fidan to testify, Milliyet newspaper reported. Deputy premier Bulent Arinc said the agency’s employees can’t be investigated as suspects for their official actions without approval by the prime minister.
Turkey jailed more than 7,000 people and arrested almost 4,000 as part of the KCK probe, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party said in October. Arrests have continued since then, with journalists, academics, publishers and politicians among those charged.
Prosecutors are preparing a 2,500-page indictment that will name 180 defendants, Radikal newspaper reported yesterday. They will be charged with aiding a terrorist organization, running the PKK’s ideological training centers in urban areas, and participating in armed trainings in mountain camps, it said.
The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast since 1984 in a conflict that has left more than 40,000 people dead, mostly Kurds.