Strasbourg to host debate on ‘İmralı process’

Strasbourg to host debate on ‘İmralı process’

Strasbourg to host debate on ‘İmralı process’

The hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France is pictured. AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere

A recent initiative by the Turkish government, the final aim of which is disarmament of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), will be the key topic of a debate to be held in Strasbourg by members of the European Parliament on Feb. 6.

“MEPs will quiz the Council and the Commission on Wednesday on how the EU can better feed into a peaceful solution of the Kurdish issue in Turkey,” the European Parliament said in an announcement on its website.

In Ankara, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) announced that its co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş would be in Strasbourg on Feb. 5 and 6 and would participate in the same debate.

The debate is expected to be opened by an official statement of Commissioner Stefan Füle on behalf of the European Commission, followed by another official statement of the Irish Presidency of the EU Council, according to news reports close to Kurdish groups based in Europe.

Additionally, Demirtaş will participate in an open meeting on the same issue on Feb. 5. Alexander Graf Lambsdorff of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, Hélène Flautre of the Group of the Greens and co-chair of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, Richard Howitt of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, and Jürgen Klute of the Confederal Group of the European United Left will be other participants in the meeting, the BDP said.

Dubbed as “resolution process,” “peace process,” or “İmralı process,” the Turkish government recently launched an initiative involving the jailed leader of the PKK, the final aim of which is the laying down of arms by the PKK. In late December 2012, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan revealed that intelligence officials were holding talks with Öcalan to convince PKK militants to lay down their arms and withdraw from Turkish soil. On Jan. 3, Ahmet Türk – head of the Kurdish umbrella organization the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and an independent lawmaker – and the BDP’s Ayla Akat were allowed to visit Öcalan as part of the process.

Since then, a second parliamentarian visit is expected to be paid to Öcalan, with BDP executives saying that they had yet to receive any negative or positive response from the Justice Ministry to their application.