PKK leader ‘buried alive’ by its organization: Deputy PM

PKK leader ‘buried alive’ by its organization: Deputy PM

PKK leader ‘buried alive’ by its organization: Deputy PM

Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan. AA Photo

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has buried its jailed leader “alive,” Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan has claimed, arguing that the PKK and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had “poisoned” the long-stalled peace process.

“Now, our concentration is focused on stopping the PKK’s assaults. The declaration of autonomy collapsed, liberated zones collapsed and hit-and-stay actions collapsed. Now our reforms and investments are going on simultaneously. But beyond that, certain conditions need to occur. The PKK’s complete abandonment of Turkey and absolute inaction are important for maturing these conditions. Other issues can be discussed afterwards,” Akdoğan said Nov. 3.

Akdoğan’s remarks in an interview with NTV news channel followed those of Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik, who said the stalled peace process aimed at ending the three-decade-long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and PKK militants could be resumed if public order is guaranteed. Çelik’s statement came just a day after the AKP secured a comfortable election victory for a four-year governmental mandate. 

“They made so many wrongdoings,” Akdoğan said, in response to a question concerning whether “İmralı” could play a role in revival of the process. İmralı is a byword for PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life-sentence on the İmralı Island Prison in the Marmara Sea.

Akdoğan did not elaborate as to whether he was solely referring to the PKK or both to the PKK and the HDP when he spoke of “wrongdoings.”

“People of the region were also complaining. They said, ‘Meetings are being held with the state; [the process] will start after the elections.’ There is no such thing. We are moving on our way. Meetings with İmralı by related institutions of the state are things which happened during previous governments’ tenure. But to be able to arrive at that point within the context of the resolution process, these conditions need to mature. They harmed the process badly. They buried Öcalan there alive. They tried to ruin Öcalan under the pretext of opposition to [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan,” Akdoğan said. “We are not interested in that part at the moment.”

Violence between Turkish security forces and PKK militants reignited this summer after a suicide bombing against socialist activists in the border town of Suruç killed 33 people, shattering a fragile peace process following a two-and-a-half-year de facto period of non-conflict. The bombing was blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but the PKK and many in the Turkish opposition blamed the AKP for creating the conditions to facilitate the attack.