Public officials kidnapped by PKK to be released in 10 days, BDP says


2 March 2013 /TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL – Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Co-chairperson Gülten Kışanak, who was among a group of deputies who met with senior leaders of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, has said 10 public officials kidnapped by the PKK will be released within seven to 10 days.

The announcement by Kışanak on Saturday in Arbil comes amidst ongoing peace talks between the government and the PKK as part of the government’s latest move to disarm the PKK through dialogue. Kışanak said the delegation met with a group of senior PKK leaders led by Murat Karayılan in the Kandil Mountains, known as the bases of the PKK. “I hope these [public] officials will reunite with their families soon,” she said at a press conference in Arbil.

Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan recently signaled that the PKK may release the public officials kidnapped during a meeting with BDP deputies Pervin Buldan, Altan Tan and Sırrı Süreyya Önder  on Feb. 23. After the meeting, Buldan read a short statement by Öcalan which defined the BDP delegation’s visit to İmralı as a “historic step.” The PKK head also called on all parties to be extra cautious and sensitive during the peace talks, saying: “The state and the PKK both have prisoners. The PKK should treat prisoners well, and I hope they can return to their families.” In the statement Öcalan referred to both captured soldiers and government employees kidnapped by the PKK in recent years.