ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s justice minister has denied claims by a daily that the jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK) leader had been transferred saying, “We absolutely have no such information.” Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) categorically denied the claims, speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News.
Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said “we absolutely have no information that the separatists’ leader left the [İmrali] island.”
Speaking in the Turkish Parliament Ergin also said, “The ones who do not believe what I said can go [to Imrali Island] and see [the truth] with their own eyes.”
“I am declaring to Turkish public from the congress that [Abdullah] Öcalan’s punishment has been executed for the last 10 years on Imrali Island,” Ergin said.
Daily Aydınlık, which is known for its ultranationalist broadcasting policy, claimed on June 30 that Öcalan was transferred to the northwestern province of Bursa recently and that he had been conducting meetings with some officials from the United States.
Also Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli raised a question to the government, asking whether Öcalan may have been removed from his prison on İmralı Island.
Bahçeli openly questioned Öcalan’s silence on efforts by the main opposition and ruling parties to form a parliamentary commission to deal with the Kurdish question.
“Might he have been removed from his prison on İmralı Island?” he asked, hinting that Öcalan’s imprisonment conditions could have been improved as part of the dialogue between Turkey and the PKK.
However Ergin also said there were no plans for house arrest for Öcalan.
Öcalan has not been permitted to meet with his lawyers since July 27, 2011 and according to the claims he rejected meeting with his family as well.
Öcalan is serving a life sentence on the prison island in the Marmara Sea under tight security conditions.
His access to lawyers was blocked by the government after a change in the law, eliciting severe criticism from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Lawmakers from the party have attempted to meet with Ergin on the issue but have been rebuffed.