Jailed PKK leader says government’s election plans might risk peace process

Jailed PKK leader says government’s election plans might risk peace process

Jailed PKK leader says government’s election plans might risk peace process

Leyla Zana (C) and Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir (L) meet with Masoud Barzani in Arbil in this file photo. DHA photo

The ongoing process to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue will come to an end if the Turkish government becomes engrossed in electoral arithmetic, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan has said, according to the Fırat news agency.

“A democratic and sustainable Constitution is a fundamental condition for the process. But sharing in line with a spirit of negotiating is a significant process for determining the fundamentals and methods of the Constitution. The greatest threat to this will be for the government to approach the issue with concerns about elections and percentages. Such an approach will cause problems which will end the process. The ongoing process has shown everyone that the democratic transition cannot be delayed,” People’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder cited Öcalan as saying during a meeting on İmralı island, where the PKK leader is serving a life sentence.

Öcalan also penned a one-page letter to Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government President Masoud Barzani. The PKK leader further told Önder and Diyarbakır independent lawmaker Leyla Zana during a meeting on Jan. 25 that he had given a letter to the authorities, Doğan news agency reported.

Önder said they expected to receive the letter on Jan. 28 or Jan. 29 from state officials. Önder and Zana will go to Kandil Mountain in northern Iraq to give Öcalan’s letter to Barzani and will hold meetings with participants of the Kurdish National Congress in Arbil, Sulaymaniyah and Kandil. 

Zana’s Jan. 25 meeting with Öcalan was the first such meeting in the past 25 years, as the two last meet in 1991 in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, where the PKK had camps. Zana’s planned visit to Kandil will be her first visit. 

Zana became a symbol of free speech across the world after serving 10 years in prison for speaking Kurdish while taking her parliamentary oath in 1991. She was ultimately released in 2004 and once again became an MP after the June 2011 elections, although she a ban remains in place preventing her from joining the country’s main Kurdish party, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).