PKK says it no longer trusts İmralı delegation
DİYARBAKIR – Doğan News Agency
Tension has erupted recently in Turkey’s southeast regions as the Kurdish peace process was stalled. DHA photoA senior leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has said that neither the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) nor the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) can represent them during their meetings with the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as part of the peace process to solve the Kurdish question.
Duran Kalkan, an executive committee member of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the PKK, told an interview with the satellite channel Sterk TV that they would not believe anything told them by anyone, including the HDP and the BDP. The apparent rift comes as the peace process reaches a crossroads following months of inaction in the process.
“Some people meet him [Öcalan], but they meet him for themselves. They are not our representatives. The HDP and the BDP are not same as the PKK. The delegation [that meets Öcalan] makes a statement, but then the government makes a [conflicting] statement. This causes trust problems. This is why no one can convince the guerilla from now on. We can only be persuaded if a direct meeting with Öcalan can be arranged,” said Kalkan.
His remarks came after a HDP delegation’s surprise visit to İmralı Island near Istanbul to meet Öcalan, amid the rise in tension in the southeastern part of the country, which resulted in the death of two locals during clashes with security forces over the weekend.
Öcalan sent his condolences to the families of Ramazan Baran and Baki Akdemir, who were killed by gunshots during clashes in the Lice district of Diyarbakır. Tension had risen with the death of two men after which a Turkish flag was removed from the Air Force base in the city by a masked demonstrator.
Öcalan also touched on the controversial removal of a Turkish flag from a mast inside an Air Force base in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on June 8.
“We do not behave hurtfully toward the symbols of any country,” he said in a statement relayed by the HDP lawmakers who visited him in his prison cell on June 9, reiterating his call to “avoid any action that might trigger tension” and adding that he believed the peace process has “entered a critical stage.”
The Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation into the removal of the Turkish flag from the air base. Five people allegedly involved in the removal of the flag were detained June 10 as part of the investigation.
The flag incident took place after the funeral of Baran, who died during a protest against the gendarmeries’ attempt to remove roadblocks in Lice district. The road between Diyarbakır and Lice has been closed by supporters of the PKK for around three weeks now, and tension rose when the groups who blocked the road resisted the security forces.
Meanwhile, the HDP opted to hold its weekly parliamentary group meeting near a bridge in the Çelikhan village where the roadblocks were put for the first time. HDP co-leader Sebahat Tuncel said the demonstrations in Lice had reached their goal, “warning the government that says it is both working for the peace process and also has a policy of war.”
A group of PKK militants, whose faces were masked, stopped the HDP’s bus, allowing it to proceed after speaking to Tuncel for a short period of time.