Talks should lead to negotiations: BDP

Talks should lead to negotiations: BDP

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Talks should lead to negotiations: BDP

AA Photo

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş has said recent talks with the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) should turn into a “negotiation process” to resolve Turkey’s decades-old Kurdish issue.

Demirtaş also called on the government to secure the “required negotiation conditions” for Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence in an island prison.

“Since you have accepted Öcalan as a counterpart and considered this approach an important step for a resolution, further follow-up steps should continue. There’s a world of difference between the conditions of the government and the other negotiating actor [Öcalan]. Öcalan is staying in a 14-square-meter concrete block, while the government has all the facilities for negotiation. Those who launched the recent process know that negotiations cannot be held there under these conditions. The conditions of the actors should be converged,” Demirtaş said at his party’s parliamentary group meeting yesterday.

“The conditions of İmralı [island prison] can be improved or İmralı prison can be completely closed. We should discuss what option would be most realistic at this stage,” Demirtaş said.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Demirtaş said he did not mention prerequisites or preconditions when calling on the government to improve Öcalan’s conditions. “But if our suggestions are implemented, the movement to negotiations will speed up,” he said.

Recent talks are not a joint project of the government and the BDP, Demirtaş said. “It’s a process launched by the government and Öcalan. During the talks at İmralı, [Öcalan] did not convey any letters, roadmap, project or timeline for resolution.”

Maintaining military operations and legal probes into the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) is unacceptable while talks are underway, the BDP co-chair said, referring to the government’s “integrated program” for the Kurdish issue.

Demirtaş also said direct contact between Öcalan and the KCK should be secured. “If Öcalan is to negotiate for peace, he must have direct contact with the KCK and Kurdish people,” Demirtaş said. The KCK is the alleged urban wing of the PKK.

Demirtaş also appealed to the families of “martyred soldiers,” soldiers who were killed during fighting with PKK militants.

“We have been deeply grieved by the loss of your children, or our brothers. Your support of the recent process would be invaluable for us. Those who support this process so other families do not suffer the same pain will display a blessed behavior,” Demirtaş said.