Kurdish party names politicians to join Turkey-PKK peace talks

If the Justice Ministry approves the BDP's request, these deputies will travel to İmralı Island where jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, serves a life sentence and meet with him.

Kurdish party names politicians to join Turkey-PKK peace talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) submitted a petition to the Justice Ministry on Thursday, naming three Kurdish politicians the party wants to have join the ongoing peace talks with the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Ahmet Türk, co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and an independent deputy, BDP co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş and BDP deputy group chairman Pervin Buldan are the three Kurdish politicians named in the petition.

If the Justice Ministry approves the BDP's request, these deputies will travel to İmralı Island where jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, serves a life sentence and meet with him.

Over the past weeks, there has been uncertainty and debates over which Kurdish politicians will join the peace talks between the government and the PKK.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community, has waged a bloody campaign for self-rule in predominantly Kurdish southeast Anatolia since 1984. More than 40,000 people, including civilians and security forces, have been killed in clashes.

BDP deputy group chairman İdris Baluken, said on Wednesday that the ongoing debates about the BDP delegation, which will travel to İmralı Island to meet with Öcalan, are “superficial” and “meaningless.”

Speaking to BBC Turkish, Baluken said his party finds the crisis over the names of the BDP members who will go to İmrali an unnecessary one.

“If there is sincerity regarding the solution of the 100-year-long problem, this crisis has no validity,” Baluken said, adding that what needs to be discussed is the peace process and the roadmap instead of names.

The BDP is opposed to the notion of Öcalan as the sole interlocutor in the peace talks by the Turkish state.

BDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş said earlier this month that the state should also recognize the BDP and PKK leaders in the Kandil Mountains as interlocutors. In addition, the BDP believes that state authorities should hold talks with the officials of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) -- known alternatively as the PKK's urban arm -- as part of the peace process.

A written statement released by the BDP on Wednesday suggested that the party sees their contribution to the solution of the Kurdish problem as a major duty. The statement said a BDP delegation going to İmralı is of crucial importance for the progress of the peace process.

In remarks to the Firat News Agency (ANF), Demirtaş said on Wednesday that the moment the Justice Ministry announces that traveling to the island is possible, his party will make an official application to go there to join the talks..

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier this week that an official application has not been made to the Justice Ministry by the BDP yet and if such an application is made, two or three BDP members may go to the island in line with the principles set by the government.

Erdoğan said the visit of the BDP deputies to İmralı might take place this week or next. The first meeting between Öcalan and Kurdish politicians as part of the negotiation talks took place on Jan. 4 when Ahmet Türk and Ayla Akat Ata visited İmralı.

In the meantime, according to a report in the Sabah daily on Thursday, Öcalan will give critical instructions to the PKK's wing in Europe and Kandil in northern Iraq where PKK hideouts are located to prevent the obstruction of the peace process.

The daily said Öcalan will tell the PKK's European wing to take control of independent PKK groups, to resolve the murder of three PKK militants in Paris last month and reveal the structure behind the killings of the women.

As for Öcalan's message to Kandil, the daily said Öcalan will ask PKK operatives in Kandil not to put obstacles in the peace process or they will lose public support and become marginalized.

Last Mod: 14 Şubat 2013, 15:53
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