PKK leader Öcalan ‘must’ have active role in talks

PKK leader Öcalan ‘must’ have active role in talks

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
PKK leader Öcalan ‘must’ have active role in talks

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Gültan Kışanak. Daily News Photo

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Gültan Kışanak presented Nelson Mandela’s case as an example for the solution of the Kurdish issue, saying that peace could not be achieved as long as Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), was kept isolated on İmralı Island.

Kışanak criticized the government’s exclusion of Öcalan from the solution process, adding that they were expecting a method resembling the “Mandela model.” Nelson Mandela, who was kept imprisoned on Robben Island for 27 years, was sent to a farmhouse after negotiations began with the ruling power of that period.

Kışanak also said 90 percent of the claims suggesting that a group of PKK members laid down arms and were deported after the Arbil negotiations were speculative.

Talks not possible with Öcalan isolated: Kışanak

“We are reviewing other negotiation experiences all over the world. [In these examples], there are actors who are in politically effective positions. Existence of such actors eases the process. So, it is necessary for Öcalan to have such an authority for the solution of the Kurdish issue. Negotiation is not possible by isolating someone on an island since [the isolated party] has to have some means to reflect his will and implement his solution method. The only example case of isolation is Mandela; and when the negotiations started, he was released from the island and various opportunities were created for him to contact his organization,” Kışanak said.

The peace process could not be successful unless Öcalan’s conditions were reformed, Kışanak added, and the BDP and PKK take on an active role. “It is not reasonable to expect a solution by depriving [Öcalan] of the means through which he can use his authority,” Kışanak said, noting that the party wanted to visit İmralı island as soon as possible.

“The AKP neither issued an official statement on the İmralı process nor expressed their expectations of us. Everyone says the BDP has to do its duty, but no one explains what these duties are,” said Kışanak. “We think we have a key role [in the solution process], and the AKP says exactly the same.

But the AKP and the BDP have not had any official negotiations in this regard yet. ... We are not excluding the Island from the process; and we want to play an effective role that would ease the solution. Öcalan is the leader of Kurdish people and thus he has a significant role in the solution,” Kışanak said.

“Speculations are constantly made as if the negotiations were already done and some results were obtained. However, discussing the results is not possible before negotiations end.”