Dispute grows over outlawed PKK head
ISTANBUL / ANKARAMehmet Öcalan, the brother of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, has voiced his support for the Zana-Erdoğan negotiations. “The Prime Minister can solve the problem if he wishes,” Öcalan said, according to daily Sabah. Mehmet Öcalan is the last person to have met with Abdullah Öcalan on İmralı Island, where the latter is serving a life sentence.
“Zana’s words are clear. The prime minister can solve the problem if he wishes, that is a fact. Anyone who can do this will [have done] the best job in the region. If one can stop the deaths, his or her name will be remembered eternally,” Mehmet Öcalan said.
On June 30, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with independent Diyarbakır deputy Leyla Zana to discuss the Kurdish issue and to try to find a solution to it. Zana, a symbolic figure in the Kurdish movement, had said in an interview with daily Hürriyet on June 14 that Erdoğan could solve the Kurdish issue and that she had never lost her hope that he would do so.
Mehmet Öcalan also said that when he went to İmralı after his last meeting with his brother, he received a note from the prison warden saying: “The situation is critical. Don’t meet me.” When he asked the warden if it had really been written by his brother or if they were not allowed to meet, the warden said it was [Abdullah] Öcalan’s own wish not to meet with his brother.
However, in a letter he sent to the Justice Minister about 3 months ago, Abdullah Öcalan explained why he did not want to see his brother, daily Radikal reported.
“I request you not to send my brother to me, because Mehmet could not politically grasp my messages. He could say something wrong or incomplete when he goes outside. Within this critical process, I want to meet with the official board that negotiated before, and my lawyers who came here before,” Öcalan said.
Meanwhile, in response to journalists’ questions about Zana-Erdoğan meeting, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said, “As I see it, the esteemed prime minister has created such an expectation [that negotiations will take place]. If so, they should negotiate. They must explain how they could solve the problem and get the support of the society and public opinion.”