BDP leader asks to meet Öcalan in jail

BDP leader asks to meet Öcalan in jail

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
BDP leader asks to meet Öcalan in jail

BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş speaks to his party’s members in Bingöl. DHA photo

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has appealed to the government to pave the way for a meeting between himself, fellow BDP co-chair Gülten Kışanak, and the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan. Demirtaş said that such a meeting could put an end to the ongoing hunger strike being held by hundreds of prisoners, which entered its 44th day yesterday.

Demirtaş, speaking to reporters in front of Bingöl Prison, said that he and Kışanak had earlier applied for a meeting with Öcalan. “Send us instead of his [Öcalan’s] family and lawyers. Let us go to İmralı as co-chairs. If we are able to go to every prison in Turkey, then we should also be able to go to İmralı. This would be a step, it would be a leading stance on the issue of mutually resolving this issue,” he said.

The three main demands of the strikers are an end to the isolation of Öcalan, who is currently serving a life sentence on İmralı Island in the Marmara Sea, an end to restrictions on the use of Kurdish in public zones, and allowing defendants the right to conduct their defense in Kurdish during trials.

Öcalan’s lawyers have not been allowed on İmralı Island for the last 15 months.

They last met with Öcalan on July 27, 2011, although his brother Mehmet Öcalan has met with him twice over the past year.