Turkish army chief says has not seen road map for Kurdish peace process

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Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel said he does not know the content of the road map of the peace process led by the Turkish government to end the 30-year-long Kurdish issue.

“The government has a policy and this policy is ongoing. We do not know the road map of the peace process. Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said their work would be sent to public institutions, but nothing has been sent [to us] yet,” Özel told reporters during a reception on Victory Day on Aug. 30 at the Çankaya Presidential Palace in Ankara, hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife.

He added that could only comment on the road map after he sees it.

Responding a question on whether “red lines” have changed over the past decade on the Kurdish issue, Özel said there were “some differences” on the definition of “red lines” compared to 10 years ago.

“They [the government] say mothers should not cry any more. This is what we want too,” Özel said, while underlining that the “unity of the country” was also significant as a “red line” for the military.

On a separate subject, Özel said no official application over the introduction of paid military service had yet been received, after Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz recently said the government has been working on reintroducing paid military service.

Özel also responded to a question on the release of several military officers, including high-level soldiers, from prison after the Constitutional Court’s decision over the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot case trials.

“The Constitutional Court made its decision, our friends are free. What’s important for me is that they are free now. I am relieved, but the cases have not concluded yet. I will be very happy if they are acquitted. This is what I wish now. It’s important to close this case,” he said.

Özel also said they have demanded information and files from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the Security General Directorate over claims about the “parallel structure” within the army. The term “parallel structure” is widely used by the Turkish government to refer to state bureaucracy members affiliated with U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Özel stressed that the military could not take any action without notices and required concrete files and evidence.

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