Turkish opposition leader says gov’t sent a bureaucrat from judiciary to talk with Öcalan

Opposition İYİ (Good) Party chair Meral Akşener said that the government has recently sent a bureaucrat from the judiciary to İmralı Island to have a meeting with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Duvar English

Opposition İYİ (Good) Party chair Meral Akşener has confirmed the allegations of the government having sent a bureaucrat to the İmralı Island to talk with jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Akşener said that the government had assigned “someone from the judiciary” for the task and that although she knew who it was, she would not reveal the name.

“They (the rulership) have recently sent someone to İmralı, asked for help. I know who it is, someone who used another name (not to be exposed). It would be dishonorable for me to reveal (the name). If the person were a politician, I would say it (the name). They have sent someone from the judiciary. The person went there by changing their name,” Akşener told journalist Fatih Altaylı on May 1 on Habertürk TV channel.

The allegations of a government delegation having held a meeting with Öcalan initially came to the foreground with the reporting of journalist Amed Dicle on April 10. The journalist said that when the government “could not get the answer they wanted” during the meeting with Öcalan, the jailed PKK leader’s “isolation was aggravated and disciplinary punishment was given.”

On April 28, jailed former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş told the daily Cumhuriyet that the alleged meeting between the government and Öcalan was also “confirmed by my sources.” “When they (the rulership) couldn’t get a result in İmralı, they have preferred to increase the oppression against Kurdish on the field and back up (Kurdish Islamist political party) HÜDA-PAR.”

A similar confirmation came from journalist Murat Ağırel who said that the alleged meeting between senior bureaucrats and Öcalan took place on March 28. “Sources to whom you can ask this meeting are limited. They don’t want to say anything with regards to the content (of the meeting). We don’t know what they talked inside. What has been reflected in the press is that some offers were made and these offers were not accepted. When I asked (my resources about this), it was a meeting of this sort,” Ağırel told Halk TV on April 28. 

Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın, however, denied the existence of such a meeting with Öcalan.  “I would like to express that this claim is a clear lie. These are the claims made by certain circles to gain a political advantage. It is not possible for them to get a result from this. There was no meeting,” Kalın said on April 26. 

Öcalan was arrested in 1999 and is serving a life sentence on İmralı Island located in the south of the Sea of Marmara.