FAQ to Wise Persons: Will Abdullah Öcalan be freed?

FAQ to Wise Persons: Will Abdullah Öcalan be freed?

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
FAQ to Wise Persons: Will Abdullah Öcalan be freed

Author Muhsin Kızılkaya, Wise Persons group member for the Mediterranean region (3-L) is seen at a meeting with Hakkari locals in southern Antalya province. DHA photo

Members of the Wise Persons’ Commission, a group of 63 prominent figures who gathered to net reactions about the ongoing efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem, said the most frequently asked questions from citizens were about the future of Turkishness, salaries of the group members and the situation of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader.

The group, which held meetings in seven geographical regions of the country for about two months, will submit a related report to the government on June 10.

Author Muhsin Kızılkaya, group member for the Mediterranean region, told the Daily News on May 31 that the questions he often received were whether the country would be divided, whether PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan would be freed, and why such a group was founded and the targets of the process.

“We have undertaken a task of rehabilitation,” he said.

“The barriers between the state and the people were lifted for the first time. The state is collecting the ideas of the people for the first time,” he added, saying that this was a “cultural-psychological” process.

“The Pandora’s box has been opened on the Kurdish issue, he said.”This process will open the gates to a democratic society,”

Journalist Oral Çalışlar, who has been in the Black Sea region, said citizens there were curious about what was promised to the PKK in return for a withdrawal from Turkey. ”Will Turkishness be removed from the Constitution?” “Will Turkey become a federation?” “Will Öcalan be freed?” “What if PKK militants return back?” were the other frequent questions,” he said. The possibility of a shift from the parliamentary system to presidency was also questioned, he said.

Founding such a Wise Persons group was a clever pick, he added. The meetings of the group gathered all the political and social representatives of cities, uniting people from a wide spectrum of political approach at the same table, he added.

“In a way a ‘city democracy’ was practiced,” he said.

However, women were weakly represented in these meetings, he said.

Çalışlar also criticized the name of the group, and lack of sufficient media interest in the meetings.

Academic Doğu Ergil, said the support for the process would climb to 80 percent if some of the problems of the Alevi community were also solved.

“It is a revolution that such an issue is being discussed for the first time since the foundation of the Turkish Republic,” he said on the phone, adding that the process would be shaped by the civil society.

“The civil society has awakened. Organizations have launched dynamic and energetic discussions.”