Öcalan’s secretariat to be shaped by gov’t: Turkish deputy PM

Öcalan’s secretariat to be shaped by gov’t: Turkish deputy PM

Öcalan’s secretariat to be shaped by gov’t: Turkish deputy PM

Deputy PM Bülent Arınç said HDP lawmakers Sırrı Süreyya Önder (C), Pervin Buldan (R) and İdris Baluken (L) had not been assigned to the secretariat. AA Photo

A secretariat that will be provided to the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to help in advancing the Kurdish peace process will be composed of officials picked by the government and not Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said.

“What we understand as the secretariat are our own colleagues. They will be different from our colleagues working at the ministry,” Arınç said on Oct. 24, backpedalling from statements a day earlier in which he dismissed the question of establishing a secretariat.

Arınç’s remarks came after HDP lawmaker Sırrı Süreyya Önder, who has been part of almost all parliamentary delegations of lawmakers visiting PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan since the start of the peace process, announced that the secretariat would soon be established.

He also hinted that he would be part of the five-member body, along with fellow HDP lawmakers Pervin Buldan and İdris Baluken, as well as Hatip Dicle, who was recently freed after a long period of detention as part of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) trial.

Arınç, however, stressed that the secretariat would have a different function than the parliamentary delegations that visited Öcalan in his prison on İmrali Island. “We understand that Ms. Buldan, Mr. Önder and Mr. Baluken believe they have been assigned for the secretariat. But there is no such thing,” he said.

“The people who go there are assigned by the Justice Ministry. They are different from the secretariat,” he said.

Önder had suggested that the secretariat could begin work as early as next week. The debate on the secretariat comes as Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made optimistic statements regarding the stalled peace process, suggesting that it could reach a settlement within the next few months if all actors involved fulfill their parts.