PKK leader Öcalan’s letters on way to Kandil, Europe

PKK leader Öcalan’s letters on way to Kandil, Europe

PKK leader Öcalan’s letters on way to Kandil, Europe

BDP deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Pervin Buldan, who visited Öcalan on İmralı island, is thought to be one of the possible couriers for his letters. AA photo

Letters written by the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in an effort to lay out certain conditions for the voluntary disarmament of the PKK were sent to their intended recipients in Kandil and Europe on Feb. 27.

“The letters will reach their recipients in the coming hours. The letters are gone,” Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş said yesterday after a meeting of the BDP Party Assembly and the Central Executive Board (MYK) at the party’s headquarters.

The letters are identical and were written by PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and handed over to a parliamentarian delegation composed of three BDP deputies on Feb. 23. Sırrı Süreyya Önder, one of the lawmakers in the delagation, was reportedly on his way yesterday to Kandil, where the PKK’s headquarters and training camps are located.

Demirtaş declined to elaborate on the identities of the couriers delivering the letters. “We found people who will help us and sent the letters [with them],” he said.

The letters are addressed to the BDP, the Executive Council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the PKK based in Kandil, and the KCK’s Europe branch.

Different names were raised as possible couriers throughout the day, including BDP deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Pervin Buldan, BDP Istanbul deputy Önder and BDP Diyarbakır deputy Altan Tan. The three named lawmakers travelled to İmralı island on Feb. 23 following permission from the government for a visit with Öcalan conducted as part of a process that involves using the imprisoned PKK leader to convince PKK militants to lay down their arms.

The names of the co-chairs of the Kurdish-umbrella organization, the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), Ahmet Türk and Aysel Tuğluk, were also mentioned. “[This is] a technical matter which isn’t decisive in regards to the substance,” Demirtaş said in response to insistent questions on whether the couriers were deputies.

Demirtaş said the BDP was not yet ready to respond to the letter they received from Öcalan. “We need time for that. We need to work on it for maybe a few more days,” he said.

It was not clear whether the individuals who carried the letters to their respective addressees are expected to bring back responses to then be transmitted to Öcalan. The PKK leader had said the responses he receives would shape the roadmap he will draft as a proposed resolution to the conflict.

“Today we do not have such a plan. It is not on our agenda at the moment,” BDP deputy Chair Meral Danış Beştaş said when the Hürriyet Daily News asked whether BDP deputies might alter travel to Kandil and Europe in order to deliver their response letters.