Main opposition urges calm at PKK members’ funeral

Main opposition urges calm at PKK members’ funeral

BEIJING - Hürriyet Daily News
Main opposition urges calm at PKK members’ funeral

Hürriyet photo

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), expressed his concerns regarding the funerals of three militants scheduled to be held in Diyarbakır on Jan. 17, calling on participants not to exploit the funerals.

“The funeral should not be abused. We do not want to observe unwanted developments,” Kılıçdaroğlu told Ankara media outlet bureau chiefs in Beijing on Jan. 15.

Sakine Cansız, Leyla Söylemez and Fidan Doğan, three members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), were murdered in Paris on Jan. 9. The French police are still investigating the incident.

Their bodies are expected to be brought to Turkey on Jan. 10 amid concerns that the funeral could turn into PKK propaganda potentially evoking public reactions. Kılıçdaroğlu cautioned that people were very sensitive to this issue and everybody has to act responsibly in this process.

The killings came at a moment when the Turkish government launched new rounds of talks with the PKK’s imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan, which gained initial support from the main opposition party leader as well.

“The government had several initiatives in the past but none of them succeeded. That made the process much more difficult to solve. We have no idea what kind of a solution they will bring about,” Kılıçdaroğlu stressed. “We will all together follow. Everyone should make his or her contributions for peace and comfort.”

Noting that they have not been informed by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) on the İmralı talks, Kılıçdaroğlu recalled that traditionally, undersecretaries of the intelligence agency and the foreign ministry were informing the main opposition party.

When asked his opinion on a television being provided for Öcalan, Kılıçdaroğlu described the move as blatant intervention in the judiciary. “Normally, this decision should be issued by the courts. But in our country, it’s issued by the prime minister, making obvious his intervention into the judiciary.”

Kılıçdaroğlu also commented on a visit by Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), to İlker Başbuğ, former chief of general staff who was arrested on charges of being a member of a terror organization last year.

“His arrest was not right. Accusing him of being the leader of a terror organization after spending decades working for the state makes this mistake worse,” he said. Recalling Başbuğ’s statement that he would rather spend his life in jail rather than being freed as part of an amnesty move that would include PKK members, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “Issuing amnesty for those who were arrested on baseless reasons is another form of accusing them of guilt. These people do not accept that they committed a crime.”

However, Kılıçdaroğlu added he did not see signs of a general amnesty being issued, although the matter is being discussed in the media.

On his last day in Beijing, Kılıçdaroğlu visited the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. The CHP delegation traveled to Shanghai late Jan. 15.