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.
Prosecution source identifies Rakim Bulgarov, Vadim Osmanov as two of trio of suicide bombers
ISIL armed group most likely responsible for Tuesday's deadly Istanbul airport attack, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says.
32 remanded in custody, others deported, bailed, according to official records
Mevlut Cavusoglu becomes first Turkish minister to visit Russia since Nov. 24 crisis began when Turkey downed Russian jet
Kremlin spokesman says time, place not fixed for presidents to meet before September summit Dmitry Peskov
Aid ship "Lady Leyla" is expected to reach Israeli port of Ashdod within 30 hours
New law will reduces number of departments in Supreme Court of Appeals, Council of State
Turkish FM Cavusoglu says relationship should be built on cooperation, not competition
Travel + Leisure magazine pens piece extolling beauty of Turkey, urging readers to visit
Motorcycle racer Kenan Sofuoglu breaks land speed record at 400 km on 2,682-meter-long bridge named after Ottoman leader
In 2016 alone, 1,654 people were held, of which 791 were foreigners, Turkish interior minister tells parliament
Russian President Vladimir Putin signs decree lifting charter flights ban to Turkey
Suspects taken to the Istanbul Police Department's Anti-extremism Branch after suicide bombings killed 44 people and wounded 239 at Atatürk Airport
Four soldiers killed in Çukurca of Hakkari, two in Derik of Mardin and two in Genç of Bingöl during operations against PKK extremists
UN 'stands firmly with people and government of Turkey in fighting against extremism,' UN chief says
Turkish authorities elevated security measures to the highest level following the attack, according to security sources