Nobel Foundation does not rule out PKK leader’s nomination, but denies reports

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The Nobel Foundation has denied reports that the nomination of the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, for the 2014 Peace Prize has been accepted by the Nobel Committee, without ruling out such possibility. 

The foundation stressed that it does not provide any information on the nominees and the people or institutions filing the formal applications.

“The information on the list of the nominees can only be disclosed after 50 years. Only the names of the awardees are announced to the public,” an official from the Nobel committee dealing with the nominations told Doğan News Agency on April 14.

Daily Radikal had earlier quoted Iraqi politician Heval Kwestani, a member of the Kurdistan Regional Parliament for the Goran (Change) movement, who said his application for Öcalan’s nomination was accepted by the Nobel Committee.

Officials from the Nobel Foundation, however, denied that such information could be obtained.

“If some people reported that Abdullah Öcalan’s nomination had been accepted, this is unfounded because it is not possible for this person to get the information from anywhere,” they said.

Although nominees for some prizes, including science, medicine and economics, are solicited from professional and academic organizations, the peace prize accepts any nomination from “qualified nominators,” including not only scholars, but also members of parliaments and governments.

Kwestani claimed that not only was Öcalan’s nomination accepted, but he also believed he was one of the favorites to win the award this year.

“Öcalan’s 2013 Newroz message emphasized peace and democracy; it was a manifesto for the peaceful solution of the Kurdish question. The fact that TIME magazine placed Öcalan on a list of the 100 most influential people in the world was also a factor behind my nominating of Öcalan for the prize,” the Iraqi Kurdish politician said.

A record of 278 candidates, including 47 organizations, received nominations for the 2014 prize, the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s director, Geir Lundestad, announced on March 4. The committee will cut its list to around a dozen by the end of April.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis, former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai are among this year’s possible nominees highlighted by the international media.

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