World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkey's Justice Ministry has denied a news report that said Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) head Abdullah Öcalan, who has been serving a life sentence on İmralı Island in the Marmara Sea largely in isolation, will soon have eight more prison mates.
The report published by the Hürriyet daily on Friday said the Justice Ministry had decided to transfer the eight inmates, four of them women and all convicted for their membership in the PKK, to the İmralı prison complex to serve their prison terms there.
According to the report, the inmates will not share the same ward with Öcalan, but will be able to spend time with him in the yard of the prison complex. The ministry, however, has not decided yet on the names that will be transferred to the island, the daily reported.
The construction of an additional prison building on the island will finish in June, and the new inmates are thought to be headed to the island after that, the report further stated.
The Justice Ministry, however, denied the allegations, saying they don't reflect the truth.
“Construction work on İmralı is out of the question. The claims in the news report do not reflect the truth,” the ministry said in a statement released on Friday.
On Nov. 17, 2009, five inmates, four being PKK members and another a member of the left-wing Turkish Workers and Peasants' Liberation Army (TİKKO), were transferred to İmralı.
Öcalan was the sole inmate of the İmralı prison until that time. Öcalan was sentenced to hang after his capture by Turkish Special Forces in 1999 in Kenya, but this was commuted to a life term when Turkey abandoned the death penalty as part of reforms intended to open the doors of the EU.
Hürriyet's report came after PKK announced that its militants had started to withdraw from Turkey as of May 8 upon a call from their leader, Öcalan, who still wields enormous clout over the PKK as well as millions of nationalist Kurds in Turkey despite his 14 years in prison.
Öcalan's announcement calling for a cease-fire and withdrawal followed months of talks with Turkish intelligence officers with the aim of resolving the country's long-standing conflict with the PKK.Last Mod: 25 Mayıs 2013, 10:57