PM rejects demands for visit to Öcalan

PM rejects demands for visit to Öcalan

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has ruled out granting permission for the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to visit Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and cast doubt on whether the BDP can produce positive results in negotiations on the Kurdish conflict.

“It is impossible for us to grant such permission. We will not give an opportunity to speculators,” Erdoğan told journalists who accompanied him on a trip to Kazakhstan on May 24. 

The BDP sought an appointment with Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin in a bid to obtain permission to see Öcalan in prison. The party has said it could help facilitate negotiations between the PKK and Ankara, while refusing to be a direct interlocutor itself.

Erdoğan said that any contacts between the BDP and Öcalan would be “waste of time” and would not serve to produce any meaningful negotiations. “They do not know how to negotiate. If you make attempts for negotiations that are outside the limits of the rule of law, we do not have time for that,” he said late May 24 after he returned to Istanbul.

The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) once held talks with Öcalan at Erdoğan’s request. “I could send them there again. That’s their duty. No one can hold them accountable for that,” Erdoğan.