PKK leader will not leave jail, party co-chair says

PKK leader will not leave jail, party co-chair says

PKK leader will not leave jail, party co-chair says

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş. AA Photo

The jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan would not leave prison even if he was released, Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has quoted him as saying.

“In our talks at İmralı [the island prison where Öcalan is kept], he told me that he would not leave prison even if the door was opened,” Demirtaş said in an interview published in daily Posta on Jan. 8. “He said it was not meaningful for him to leave İmralı because the reasons for his imprisonment were not removed.”

In further remarks on Jan. 8, Demirtaş said Öcalan was “offended” by rumors that the government will grant an amnesty to him.

“I was put in here for political reasons and I am a person with a political cause. I am offended by rumors such as ‘Freedom for Öcalan’ or ‘Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] will get an amnesty before steps are taken about [the cause],” Öcalan said, as quoted by Demirtaş.

Commenting on a question about Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s recent claims that the HDP would not be able to pass the 10 percent threshold at the general elections in June, Demirtaş said his party would “disappoint Arınç.”

The threshold was a “shame on the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP],” as it has not abolished it throughout its 12 years in power, he added.

The statement came at a time when the talks between the PKK and Turkish officials to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue have regained momentum.

Öcalan is being kept in prison unfairly, as the reasons were political, not judicial, Demirtaş claimed.

“A separate and special judiciary is being implemented on İmralı,” he said, complaining that Öcalan has not met with his lawyers for three and a half years.

Öcalan wants to continue the talks and make improvements for a civil and free Constitution, he added.

Speaking at a HDP provincial convention, Demirtaş said on Jan. 7 that the state is "not a mechanism to be taken over."

“If someone takes over it, the others would face fear and concerns,” he said. “We should make the state our common country.”