World Bulletin / News Desk
Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has denied media reports that he is scheduled to meet the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as part of peace talks aimed at ending the Kurdish conflict.
Turkish media has long been reporting that Demirtaş and Mardin independent deputy Ahmet Türk were preparing to visit Öcalan on İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara, where the PKK leader has been in virtual isolation since his capture in 1999. Some claimed they were supposed to go to İmralı on Jan. 23, but the meeting was suspended by the Justice Ministry due to remarks made by Türk criticizing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the recent bombings by Turkish war planes in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq, the location of the PKK headquarters.
More recent media reports said Demirtaş would be accompanied by BDP deputies Ayla Akat Ata and Sırrı Sakık along with Türk.
In a message posted on his Twitter account on Friday, Demirtaş said a second visit to İmralı -- his first came early in January -- is currently not on the agenda.
“We had not been informed about such a meeting,” the BDP leader said, warning people not to credit any media reports unless his party makes an official statement.
The first meeting between Öcalan and Kurdish politicians as part of the negotiation talks took place on Jan. 4 when Türk and Ata visited İmralı.
Öcalan's continuing influence was highlighted in November when his order, made after a visit from his brother, to end a 68-day hunger strike by PKK militants in prisons across Turkey was immediately followed.
The meeting came days after the Turkish government announced that it was discussing disarmament with the militants.
Talks with the PKK, which is designated as 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: 01 Şubat 2013, 16:45