Peace process entering new stage, PKK leader says
HDP Deputy Leader Sırrı Süreyya Önder, along with HDP deputy parliamentary heads İdris Baluken and Pervin Buldan, met with Öcalan at İmralı Island prison on June 1, where he is serving a life sentence. AA PhotoThe government’s peace process has entered a new phase, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, has told a delegation from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), calling for the “avoidance of any provocations.”
HDP Deputy Leader Sırrı Süreyya Önder, along with HDP deputy parliamentary heads İdris Baluken and Pervin Buldan, met with Öcalan at İmralı Island prison on June 1, where he is serving a life sentence.
“The most important reality is that the process has entered a new stage. There is hope for a serious beginning at this stage, and this hope should be preserved and improved,” Öcalan told his visitors, according to a statement released by the HDP.
He also called on both sides to “avoid any attitudes that might harm the process,” adding that they “should focus on methods that will put into practice the sincere and realistic proposals for this beginning.”
“Öcalan stressed the importance of a constructive stance from the media, which has to be taken considering that we have been entering a historic process,” the HDP statement said.
In March 2013, the PKK declared a cease-fire as part of the peace process.
Önder told a press conference after his visit to İmralı that the negotiations were “no longer being discussed under the bureaucracy of the state, but the political delegations that involved.”
“If the government takes this seriously, many things that are regarded as part of this problem will be resolved within one or two weeks,” he added.
Önder said the government had taken two significant steps so far. “First of all, the government declared its decision to set a legal ground for the peace process for the first time openly. Secondly, this issue is no longer being debated under the state bureaucracy but by political delegations. These two developments are very significant,” he said.
Öcalan’s latest comments had been eagerly anticipated, especially amid an upsurge in tension in southeast Turkey, punctuated by clashes between the state and PKK sympathizers in Lice.