Jailed PKK leader Öcalan wrote new letter, BDP leader Demirtaş says
The jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan. Hürriyet photoAbdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has written a new letter about the ongoing process to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) may receive it within days, according to a BDP co-chair.
Öcalan has not given clear messages about the withdrawal of the PKK outside the Turkish border but has written a new letter on the peace process, co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said according to Fırat news agency, known to have close links to the PKK.
“We are expecting to receive this letter within days,” Demirtaş also said. He said it was wrong to say that Öcalan had called on the PKK to retreat from Turkish soil unarmed before receiving Öcalan’s new letter on the issue.
“It is wrong to make any statement on this issue before we receive this letter, deliver it to its addressees and deliver the answers to İmralı [island, where Öcalan is being held],” said Demirtaş.
Earlier reports quoted Öcalan as saying that the PKK militants “could withdraw from Turkey without “legislative insurance and arms,” in his meeting with BDP deputies during their fourth visit to İmralı island late April 3.
“The withdrawal may take place without waiting for legal insurance and without arms. Let Kandil [mountains in northern Iraq where the PKK’s current armed leadership is located] discuss this,” Öcalan told the three deputies, according to daily Hürriyet.
BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, BDP group deputy head Pervin Buldan and BDP Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder had visited Öcalan for the fourth time at the İmrali island prison where he is serving life imprisonment.
Öcalan also gave a letter, written in Kurdish, to the deputies, addressing those who celebrated his birthday today in his birthplace, Ömerli – Amara in Kurdish – village in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa’s Halfeti district.
“I am in a good state … I am 65 now. I did my share. It time for our people to take action,” read Öcalan’s letter.
Meanwhile, many people from the region, as well as BDP deputies, headed to the village for the celebration, known as the Amara March. BDP deputies are expected to read Öcalan’s letter in the village. BDP Istanbul deputy Sebahat Tuncel told reporters in Şanlıurfa that Öcalan had told the visiting BDP deputies on İmralı that “this was not a personal birthday, but a birthday of the people.”
“[Öcalan said in his letter that] there is a significant responsibility for the people from now on and that he has a strong belief in a solution,” Tuncel said, according to Anatolia news agency.
Thousands gathered in the village and cut a cake in honor of the PKK leader.
BDP deputies Özdal Üçer, Demir Çelik, Hüsamettin Zenderlioğlu, Ayla Akat, Nursel Aydoğan, İbrahim Binici, Tuncel, Emine Ayna and independent deputy Aysel Tuğluk were also in the district today, according to Doğan news agency.
Security measures were taken at some schools and public institutions in the district, but there were no visible security forces around Ömerli, unlike previous years.
In 2009, Mustafa Dağ and Mahsun Karaoğlan were killed in incidents that started when security forces attempted to block the road to Ömerli during the Amara March.