Öcalan would not leave prison ‘even if released’

Öcalan would not leave prison ‘even if released’

Öcalan would not leave prison ‘even if released’

BDP’s Demirtaş says another BDP visit to te Imralı Island, where Öcalan is kept in jail, could be on the agenda. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) would not leave prison even if he was released today, according to Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

“Öcalan says, ’The issue is not my freedom. I would not leave here even if the state released me this week or this month,’” Demirtaş told Hürriyet during a recent interview.

“I am a political figure and I am here for my political views. If I leave one day, it must be on the day when social freedom and democracy are achieved. It would not be right to focus upon my freedom,” he quoted the PKK leader as saying.

Speaking with regard to the PKK’s recess process, Demirtaş conveyed its renewed demand for a legal regulation for the withdrawal of the armed militants but said his party would not insist to an extent that would block the ongoing peace efforts.

 “Why does the Parliament, who has taken many decisions with regard to war so far, hesitate to make a decision about peace?” he asked. “The decision to support peace is the duty of the Parliament. The issue can only be publicized and made transparent if it is attributed to the Parliament. Explaining a route for the resolution will reassure everyone. The Parliament has a duty to make the legal regulations that could support the solution. Not favoring this law, or reacting against such a legal regulation means that the process is being conducted reluctantly. The issue of law is not imposed by the BDP. We don’t want the process to be blocked at its most critical phase,” Demirtaş said.

Öcalan probably spoke of the matter of legal regulations during the negotiations with National Intelligence Agency (MIT) delegations, he also said. “But it doesn’t mean that the government gave a guarantee. The government has adopted a tactic to conduct its activities in a closed way, which should undergo a change. If the government shares its plan with the public, the process would be more reassuring for everyone,” he said.

Kandil disagreements

Demirtaş said the PKK leaders based on Kandil Mountain and senior PKK figure Murat Karayılan said they would remain loyal to the decisions of Öcalan. “The difficulty stems from the fact that the state meets Öcalan at anytime it wants, while Kandil could only meet him through the BDP and under the authorization of the state. This mechanism of dialogue must be eased. I think going beyond the feelings of distrust is very hard with the rare visits to [Imralı] Island. Yet still, I think the administrators of the KCK [Kurdistan Communities Union] will seriously consider a possible letter or call by Öcalan,” Demirtaş said. “If Öcalan makes a call for recess without a law change, the possibility of a separation or disintegration within the KCK is very low. So far, the KCK has always backed Öcalan. I don’t think a new discussion will emerge at this phase. What Kandil tries to demonstrate is that they have an organizational structure and demand a direct contact with the Island,” he added regarding the possible disagreements within the PKK.