The younger brother of jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan traveled to İmralı, an island prison in the Sea of Marmara, to see Öcalan. Mehmet Öcalan set off by boat for the island of İmralı from the port of Gemlik in northwestern Turkey early on Monday to visit his brother.
His trip comes shortly after a pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) delegation met with the jailed PKK leader to discuss the settlement process and renewed concerns since the PKK recently halted the withdrawal of its militants from Turkey.
BDP Co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş and parliamentary group deputy chairwoman Pervin Buldan visited Öcalan on İmralı Island on Sept. 15. That visit, the 10th since the government launched the settlement process with Öcalan to resolve the country's decades-old terrorism problem and the Kurdish issue, was of critical importance as it came after the PKK's recent announcement of halting the agreed upon withdrawal of its militants that was part of the settlement process. Accusing the Turkish government of slowing down the democratization process, the PKK suspended the withdrawal of its forces at the beginning of last week.
The government's democracy package is expected to be finalized soon, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to announce the details of the package to the public in the coming weeks. The package is designed to strengthen democracy while keeping the fragile settlement process on track to resolve a conflict that has left more than 40,000 people dead.
There have been no clashes between Turkish security forces and the PKK since the beginning of the year, but despite initial optimism, the process now appears to have hit obstacles amid conflicting claims from the government and the BDP.
Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned on İmralı Island south of İstanbul, since his capture in 1999, has significant influence among PKK members and supporters. The Turkish state believes that talks with the terrorist leader may result in PKK members' eventual disarmament.
Last Mod: 23 Eylül 2013, 22:29