Öcalan’s release not on agenda: Atalay

Öcalan’s release not on agenda: Atalay

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Öcalan’s release not on agenda: Atalay

‘The release of Öcalan is not on our agenda,’ Deputy PM Atalay said. DHA photo

The release of Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is not on the agenda, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said yesterday.

During an interview with private news channel NTV, Atalay was asked about remarks by Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, who had suggested that “Turkey’s hands will be strengthened if Öcalan is released.”

“The release of Öcalan is not on our agenda,” Atalay briefly said.

At the parliamentary group meeting of the BDP on Oct. 9, Demirtaş said Oct. 9 was the 14th anniversary of the expulsion of Öcalan from Syria.

“The chief of General Staff had appeared in Hatay 14 years ago as it happened yesterday. Turkey surrendered to international powers in exchange for Öcalan’s expuslion. Turkey has been the losing party. Kurdish identity was denied in Syria 14 years ago, but today there’s a Kurdish region. Who has won and who has lost? Turkey’s hands will be strengthened both internally and in the region if Öcalan is set free. That’s why Öcalan should be freed,” Demirtaş said.
Atalay, meanwhile, maintained that the government was ready to take further courageous steps to put an end to the terrorist attacks launched by the PKK.
Atalay was, however, tight-lipped on whether the government was also ready for a new process similar to the secret meetings between representatives of the Turkish government and the PKK that were allegedly held in Oslo, Norway between 2009 and 2011.
“Will new risks be taken? There is no change in our determination. We will take every risk for a final resolution. All instruments are precious to us; we can use all of them,” Atalay was quoted as saying on NTV. He said the government has been working on “an integrated strategy” that would involve security, economy, development and international cooperation.
“We will use all instruments which will be beneficial. We are thoroughly assessing the past and we are cautiously looking at the future with experiences from the past. I cannot say anything about a meeting, but we are working on it. I’m not talking about a concrete process,” Atalay said. “A lot of instruments can be put in circulation in parallel.” Asked about Diyarbakır Police Chief Recep Güven’s statement that a human must be touched by the death of a terrorist on the mountain, Atalay said, “A bureaucrat should be busier with implementation. Bureaucrats should not speak in the style of a politician. Politicians should do their job and bureaucrats should do theirs.” k HDN