PKK leader Öcalan calls for ‘meaningful and deep negotiations’

PKK leader Öcalan calls for ‘meaningful and deep negotiations’

PKK leader Öcalan calls for ‘meaningful and deep negotiations’

The imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan. Hürriyet photo

The year-long talks with the government should turn into “meaningful and deep negotiations” to find a permanent peace for Turkey’s decades-old Kurdish problem conflict, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has demanded.

“I have presented my proposals to the state both in writing and verbally. I am waiting for the state’s response for meaningful, deep negotiations. Due to the sensitivity of the process, deep negotiations should be put into practice without delay,” convicted PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan said in a written statement released by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

The BDP’s two deputy parliamentary group chairs, Pervin Buldan and İdris Baluken, visited Öcalan in İmralı Island prison - where he is serving a life sentence - on Oct. 14 after the government granted them permission. Monday’s visit was the eleventh parliamentarian visit to Öcalan since the government launched the new process, including intelligence officials’ secret talks with the PKK leader, earlier this year to find a resolution to the Kurdish issue.

Öcalan’s comments had been highly anticipated by the BDP, as they were widely disappointed by the democratization package announced by the government on Sept. 30. The democratization package was seen as an opportunity to regain momentum in the peace process, which has been stalled since the PKK announced it had halted the withdrawal of its militants from Turkish soil in September.

However, the BDP described the democratization package as “cosmetic,” and stated that it was far from meeting their expectations.

Öcalan said he had been “in great effort for the past four years,” and that the process launched a year ago was “substantial.”

“Our efforts, conducted with great labor, eased social [tensions] and the earthquake has passed away. But the mountainous problems still remain to be solved,” he said.

As no legal foundation has been established over the course of the year, there has been no rejection and no progress, suggested the PKK head.

“While I retain my hope for the process, I am repeating once again my historic call so this hope does not turn into disillusionment,” Öcalan said.

His comments will be closely analyzed by PKK militants, who recently announced that they were considering whether to maintain their ceasefire, begun on March 21, noting that the democratization package had failed to address their expectations.