World Bulletin / News Desk
A letter written by the jailed leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, to the Ministry of Justice has come as an explanation for his extended silence, saying he will no longer speak through his lawyers as they distort his remarks and accusing the PKK and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) of deceiving him.
Nothing has been heard in months from Öcalan, who used to regularly meet with his lawyers, BDP officials and relatives. Öcalan had previously delivered messages through his lawyers about PKK violence and the Kurdish problem. His months-long and unusual silence had even triggered speculation as to whether or not he was still in prison on İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara, and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli had asked the government whether this was so.
A letter written by Öcalan to the Ministry of Justice was obtained by the Sabah daily, on which it reported on Tuesday.
“Lawyers distort my remarks. My messages are not relayed to the relevant people. The BDP and the PKK are deceiving me. I will no longer meet with them,” Öcalan said in the letter, which he reportedly wrote 11 months ago.
The last time Öcalan met with his lawyers was in the aftermath of a PKK attack in Diyarbakır's Silvan district last July, which claimed the lives of 13 soldiers and dashed hopes about the solution of the Kurdish problem.
At this meeting, Öcalan reportedly told his lawyers: “I am very saddened about the killing of 13 soldiers and PKK militants. The fire that targets soldiers and guerillas is the same fire. If weapons are not fully silenced, the necessary steps not taken and this [Kurdish] problem not resolved, clashes will be inevitable.”
In a move that confirmed his statements in the letter, Öcalan refused to meet with his brother Mehmet, who had wanted to pay him a visit, on Jan. 19.
Back then, Mehmet Öcalan told the press that his brother had sent him a message saying: “The atmosphere in this place is very sensitive now. It is not appropriate for us to meet.”
In the meantime, requests from Öcalan's lawyers for a meeting with the PKK leader were rejected by the Ministry of Justice on the grounds that the weather was poor and the boats that travel to İmralı were experiencing technical problems.
High-ranking officials who spoke to Sabah denied claims that Öcalan had been taken off of İmralı. A statement issued by the Bursa Public Prosecutor's Office on Monday also said Öcalan is still serving his prison sentence on İmralı.
Öcalan was captured in Kenya on Feb. 15, 1999, while going from the Greek Embassy to the Nairobi International Airport, in an operation carried out by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). He was sentenced to death that same year, but his sentence was suspended and later commuted to life imprisonment when the death penalty was abolished in Turkey in August 2002.
Binali Yildirim says ruling party’s most important task is to usher in presidential system
Fiirst-ever World Humanitarian Summit organized by the United Nations in Istanbul dominated Tuesday's headlines
Binali Yildirim meets Turkish President Erdogan to submit the new government list
Foreign minister and European Commission VP exchange views over the phone on visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in Schengen
'Turkey is one of the countries - with its open-door policy - from which Europe should take lessons,' says Guy Ryder
'We must do everything that we can to continue to discuss as it is likely that by July 1 certain things will not be put in place, in other words the visa exemption (will not be granted) as some conditions will not have been fulfilled,' German chancellor says
In air operation in northern Iraq early Monday, Turkish Air Forces destroy weapon caches, shelters, camps
Turkish president deems current humanitarian system 'inadequate for solving urgent problems'
Tuesday’s papers cover extraordinary congress where Turkey’s ruling AK Party elects new party chairman
At least 125 United Nations member states gather in Istanbul on Monday and Tuesday to address intl humanitarian concerns
Sirnak’s central Geylani Mosque has been bombed by PKK terrorists, leaving several Quran copies burnt and torn
President Erdogan asks new leader of ruling AK Party Binali Yildirim to form government
Binali Yildirim elected as AKP's new chairman, who is now set to replace Ahmet Davutoglu as prime minister
Airstrikes in northern Iraq's Qandil and Metina regions Thursday also destroyed terrorist PKK shelters
Security forces seize bomb-laden vehicle in SE Turkey
'A happy Laylat al Bara’at to our honorable nation, to our kin abroad, and to the whole world of Islam,' says Mehmet Gormez