BDP selects three names for the second visit to jailed PKK leader

BDP selects three names for the second visit to jailed PKK leader

BDP selects three names for the second visit to jailed PKK leader

Pervin Buldan (R) and Altan Tan (R, back) may join a new mission to İmralı island. BDP co-leader Gülten Kışanak (C) was also among the possible names.

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has notified the Justice Ministry that it has chosen Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Pervin Buldan and Altan Tan to go to İmralı island to meet Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as part of the ongoing peace process.

The stalemate that had developed between the government and the BDP over the composition of the delegation was solved following Öcalan’s intervention, and the group will now depart for Imralı within days of the conclusion of the necessary procedures.

The names were announced through a written statement by the BDP, following an hours-long meeting on Wednesday in a bid to end the uncertainty over who would conduct the second meeting with Öcalan. The statement said that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had refused to allow BDP co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş and independent deputy, Ahmet Türk, to visit Öcalan on this occasion.

Recalling the message delivered by Öcalan via his brother, Mehmet Öcalan, stating that he was expecting to meet one of the co-chairpersons in the second delegation, the BDP statement said the three names had been chosen by Öcalan himself in a bid to avert the deadlock. It viewed Öcalan’s proposals as valid and said the party had notified the Justice Ministry in line with the list.

The justice minister will make a statement: Erdoğan

Because Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin was attending the meeting of the anti-terror board under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, the BDP’s request was sent to Ergin’s chief advisor, Adnan Boynukara.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan said they will discuss the names on the sidelines of tonight's anti-terror meeting. “The justice minister will probably make a statement tomorrow [Feb. 21],” he told reporters during a press conference held in Ankara with his Libyan counterpart, Ali Zeidan.

Ahmet Türk and Ayla Akat Ata visited İmralı island on Jan. 3, which is considered to be the beginning of the peace process between the government and the PKK. The process is aiming at disarming the PKK and solving the Kurdish question. Erdoğan publicly slammed Türk for attacking the Turkish military’s operations against the PKK in the aftermath of the first visit to İmralı, causing a rift.

Erdoğan also vetoed Demirtaş for his sharp criticism of the government, and also refused permission to fellow co-chairperson, Gültan Kışanak, for her embracing of PKK terrorists a couple of months ago.

The three names officially assigned by the party for the latest visit have different qualifications. Pervin Buldan is the wife of Savaş Buldan, who was killed in unsolved murder in 1994. Altan Tan represents the conservative wing of the BDP and is known as a religious Kurdish politician. Önder, however, is an ethnic Turk of Turkoman descent. As a movie director, artist and former columnist, Önder was also a political activist in late 1970s, who was later tortured during his time spent in prison imprisonment. Tan and Önder have been members of Parliament since 2011.