BDP suggests calling on Öcalan for PKK cease-fire
The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has suggested to the Ministry of Justice that its deputies and other Kurdish politicians should go to İmralı Island, where Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), is incarcerated, to seek a cease-fire and put an end to PKK attacks, according to the Taraf daily.

The BDP move came after a hunger strike by hundreds of prisoners across Turkey ended following a call by Öcalan.

The daily reported on Thursday that the BDP has suggested that Öcalan is the only person who can make the PKK lay down its arms, but it is necessary for his isolation in jail to end and for representatives from the BDP to visit him to have talks regarding the issue. The BDP believes that Öcalan cannot deliver such a message of cease-fire to the PKK via his brother, Mehmet Öcalan, but through the BDP.

According to sources that Taraf did not disclose, BDP Co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş conveyed his party's suggestion to Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin. Demirtaş was reported as saying: "In ending the hunger strike without any deaths, your well-intentioned approach, our efforts, the support of people sensitive to the issue and the public embracing the issue played a role, but what was decisive was Öcalan. Öcalan's impact on the PKK and Kurds is very important to silence weapons and prevent deaths. We believe that Öcalan can call for a cease-fire and silence arms from İmralı. Bur first of all, Öcalan's isolation in prison must end."

Should its suggestion be accepted, the BDP is planning to send Demirtaş and independent Kurdish deputies Aysel Tuğluk, Ahmet Türk and Leyla Zana to the prison to see Öcalan.

In remarks to Taraf, BDP parliamentary group deputy chairman İdris Baluken said the party is very interested in such a meeting taking place, which, he argues, would lead to other positive developments. Speaking about the BDP's talks with the Ministry of Justice, Baluken said his party had explained its reservations about the right to defend oneself in court in one's mother tongue. Baluken added that the BDP had asked for permission to pay Öcalan a visit several times in the past.

The BDP sees itself as the representative of the country's Kurdish population in Parliament and it is severely criticized for its ties to the PKK.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-22 18:00:02
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