Kurd inmates ‘will end hunger strike if jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan allowed visitors’

ANKARA, AFP – 9.11.2012 –  A near two-month hunger strike by hundreds of Kurdish prisoners in Turkey could end if Ankara allows jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan to receive visitors, a Kurdish lawmaker told AFP on Wednesday.

“If Ocalan’s lawyers are allowed to visit him at Imrali (prison), I think the strikes will come to an end,” said Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). His lawyers have submitted a new demand to visit Ocalan within a few days and the request could be accepted, Demirtas added.

On Tuesday, President Abdullah Gul met Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin to discuss the situation of the striking inmates. But Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Saturday the strikers against “blackmail”, saying: “We will not release the terrorist chief just because you say so or resort to such an action.”