World Bulletin / News Desk
The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) on Thursday announced that it officially submitted to the Justice Ministry a list of three of its deputies, Pervin Buldan, Altan Tan and Sırrı Süreyya Önder, as the members of a delegation that will travel to İmralı island to meet with the jailed leader of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as part of ongoing talks between the government and the PKK aimed at resolving Turkey's long-standing Kurdish problem.
PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned on İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara, south of İstanbul, since his capture in 1999, has significant influence among PKK members and supporters.
Last week, the party unofficially named Ahmet Türk, co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and an independent deputy, BDP co-Chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş and Buldan, the BDP parliamentary group deputy chairwoman, as the politicians who will go to İmralı to meet with Öcalan.
The Taraf daily reported on Thursday that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had rejected BDP's unofficial list and the BDP had been asked to prepare a new list. The BDP made a new list after a meeting on Thursday evening.
According to media reports, PKK leader Öcalan told his brother, Mehmet, who visited him earlier this week that the names of the BDP deputies who will visit him are not important.
“They could be the co-chairpersons, if not any BDP delegation could come [to the island],” Öcalan reportedly told his brother.
Meanwhile, speaking at the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) headquarters on Thursday, AK Party Deputy Chairman Numan Kurtulmuş called on all political parties in Parliament to act with common sense free of concern about wooing voters during the peace-building process with the PKK.
He said everyone should be careful about their actions during the peace process, adding: “[Political parties] should not think, ‘We are faced with a risk,' or have political concerns such as ‘We will win votes for our party' during this process.”
Kurtulmuş said everyone needs to ask themselves the question of whether they really want the solution of the terrorism problem in Turkey, the end of the bloodshed and to stop mothers' tears.
The responsibility to achieve peace lies primarily with the politicians and then the people “because Turkey has suffered much from this problem,” he said. “Politicians really need to be careful about their actions and words … We hope that this problem will be resolved as soon as possible and Turkey turns into a country which lives in peace.”
In the meantime, a group of BDP deputies, who started a Black Sea tour this week to explain the peace talks to the people of the region, decided to end their tour early after they were met with violent demonstrations in Sinop and Samsun.
The deputies visited Çorum, Sinop and Samsun where they faced demonstrations from angry crowds who even stoned the buildings they were in. They were going to visit Giresun and Trabzon but decided to cancel visits to these provinces due to the public reaction.
The BDP deputies will reportedly launch a tour in the Mediterranean region to explain the ongoing peace talks to the locals there.
Speaking on Thursday, Ertuğrul Kürkçü, one of the BDP deputies on the Black Sea tour, said what they faced in the Black Sea was an organized action and a security shortcoming.
“We did not confront the people,” he said, implying that the incidents were masterminded by shadowy groups.
When asked about the BDP decision to cut their Black Sea tour short, the AK Party's Kurtulmuş said he finds the party's move a positive and responsible one.
Reportedly, some AK Party officials last week warned the BDP to cancel their Black Sea tour on the grounds that the timing was wrong.Last Mod: 20 Şubat 2013, 17:52