APO DECIDES : PKK leader gives gov’t solution blueprint: BDP

“Government reads first, BDP later”

ANKARA – 22.2.2013 –  HÜRRIYET – The PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan, gave a road map to government on the Kurdish issue, says BDP’s co-chair Demirtaş claiming that they will receive the road map in a few days after gov’t evaluates it. Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said yesterday that Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has presented a road map to the government for a solution to the Kurdish issue.

“The government has been evaluating the road map for a few days now, and it will probably be presented to our delegation, which will visit İmralı [the island where Öcalan is serving a life sentence],” Demirtaş told a group of journalists in Parliament yesterday. A second parliamentary visit will be paid to Öcalan tomorrow after the Justice Ministry swiftly approved yesterday a list of proposed visitors that was prepared in line with the PKK leader’s suggestions and filed by the BDP.

BDP deputy parliamentary group chair Pervin Buldan, Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Diyarbakır deputy Altan Tan will be going to İmralı as part of a “peace process” that involves government officials’ talks with Öcalan in order to convince PKK militants to lay down their arms, following a similar visit by BDP deputy Ayla Akat Ata and independent deputy Ahmet Türk on Jan. 3. “If this road map is acknowledged by the government as a realistic project, we will examine it to see how we can contribute,” Demirtaş said.

The message the delegation will receive on İmralı will also be delivered to the Kandil Mountains, where the armed leadership of the PKK is based, the co-leader added. “It is not like the delegation going to İmralı will go to Kandil, but the message will somehow be delivered,” Demirtaş said.

An agreement that will be reached between Kandil and Öcalan will also be binding for the BDP, he added. After the first visit on Jan. 3, the second parliamentary visit to Öcalan remained a hot topic on Turkey’s political agenda, as the BDP and government were not able to reach an agreement on names included in the delegation. Öcalan has demanded to meet with the BDP co-chairs previously; however, the government blocked them from going to the island and Öcalan prepared the current list.

Öcalan offered 3 names

The process could have stalled if no visit took place this week, Demirtaş said, adding that Öcalan had offered the three names for the delegation in case the BDP co-leaders were not allowed. The government is not in touch with PKK members in Europe or in Kandil, the BDP co-leader said, adding that they could help in such talks if requested. We want peace,” he said. “The government should also decide if it wants peace or not. Until two months ago, the prime minister was saying he would hang Öcalan, now look where we are. No provocation is possible if you take the right steps for peace.”

Demirtaş said neither Öcalan nor any Kurd would back down on demands regarding Kurdish language and culture, but such demands “could and should be revised.”

BDP still in, thanks to Öcalan: Demirtaş

The BDP co-leader complained that they had not been properly informed by the government about the process since the first meeting in January. “We are in this because we trust in Öcalan, the government’s attitude will determine if there will be any further progress,” Demirtaş said.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said the second parliamentary visit to İmralı shows that the peace process is well under way. The process is continuing within the framework of current legislation, Arınç said. “Whoever says whatever, we are hopeful. We pay attention to constructive criticism, but the public will teach the necessary lesson to destructive criticism.” Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek suggested that the peace process itself should be the focus rather than the names composing the delegation. k HDN