PKK leader praises protests as 'meaningful,' warns against manipulation

PKK leader praises protests as 'meaningful,' warns against manipulation

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
PKK leader praises protests as meaningful, warns against manipulation

A demonstrator wearing a Guy Fawkes mask flashes a V-sign as he stands with others on Taksim square in Istanbul on June 7. AFP photo

The leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, has expressed his support of the demonstrators that took the streets to protest the demolition of Gezi Park in Istanbul, in a letter conveyed by Peace and Democracy Party Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş June 7.

"I find the resistance meaningful and I salute it. By all means this stance has created a political rupture," Öcalan said, in the letter read by Demirtaş after his return from a visit to İmralı island, where the PKK leader is jailed. However Öcalan also warned that some groups might try to manipulate the protests.

"No one should let himself be used by nationalist, pro-coup circles. The democrat, revolutionary, patriot and progressive circles should not let this movement slide under their surveillance," Öcalan added.

The PKK leader also called on the government to fulfill its responsibilities with "seriousness" regarding the ongoing Kurdish peace process. "I am myself well aware of my historical responsibilities. My efforts are for more democracy and freedom. I hope that my counterparts will seize the opportunity and pursue the same efforts as me," he said.

Meanwhile, during the press conference Demirtaş criticized the government's attitude regarding the party's visits to Öcalan. He said the government should not decree who is allowed to participate in the delegations and who is not fit. "If the government pursues its approach this way, we would have to consider again our own approach," Demirtaş said.

The PKK started a withdrawal process of its militants earlier last month following talks between the government and the PKK leader.