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.