World Bulletin / News Desk
The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has insisted that its chairpersons should be allowed to meet with jailed militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan in response to the prime minister's suggestion that he may veto a visit by one of the party's chairs.
Speaking to press on Wednesday during his visit to the Hungarian capital of Budapest, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that he will not allow “those who hugged terrorists” to visit Öcalan, implying that BDP co-chairwoman Gülten Kışanak will not be allowed to visit Öcalan in İmralı, the island where militant leader has been imprisoned since his capture in 1999.
A video which made its way into the Turkish media in August showed PKK militants and nine BDP deputies led by the party's co-chairperson Kışanak chatting and hugging each other along a highway in the Şemdinli district of the southeastern province of Hakkari.
Shortly after Erdoğan's remarks on Öcalan visit, BDP parliamentary group deputy chairwoman Pervin Buldan said the prime minister can say whatever he wants but that he is not in a position to take decisions on behalf of the BDP.
Buldan said that the group visiting Öcalan will consist of two BDP chairpersons and two chairpersons from the BDP-affiliated Democratic Society Congress (DTK). She added that Öcalan told his brother that he is expecting to meet with chairpersons from the BDP and the DTK to discuss the peace process. “I urge the prime minister to not make statements that will harm the peace process,” she underlined.
The first meeting between Öcalan and Kurdish politicians as part of the current negotiations took place on Jan. 4, when two BDP deputies visited İmralı.
The meeting came days after the Turkish government announced that it was discussing disarmament with the militants.
Talks with the PKK, which is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, would have been unthinkable for the Turkish public only a few years ago.Last Mod: 06 Şubat 2013, 16:16