Jailed PKK leader to release message on Sept 1

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The jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party Abdullah Öcalan (PKK) is expected to release a new message on World Peace Day, which Turkey marks on Sept. 1, a leading executive of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said.

“Öcalan will have a message for Sept. 1, World Peace Day. The message will be conveyed to us through the Justice Ministry in the coming days,” HDP Deputy Parliamentary Group Cahir Pervin Buldan said yesterday, as she also noted Öcalan did not inform their delegation about the content of the message during their latest meeting, which took place Aug. 15.

Buldan also said they will be traveling over the weekend to the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq, where the armed wing of the PKK’s leadership is based.

In his message, Öcalan is expected to elaborate on a statement that was conveyed to the public after the Aug. 15 meeting that coincided with the 30th anniversary of the PKK’s armed fight against Turkey’s security forces.

“This 30-year-long war is at the stage of being completed with democratic negotiations,” Öcalan said Aug. 15 in remarks made public by the HDP.

“The democratic negotiation process, historically and socially, has a deep meaning. We are passing through a process, the impacts and results of which are huge. This process holds historical opportunities that will set a model in resolving grave problems on the basis of peace and freedom, not only for Turkey but for the entire region,” Öcalan said.

Sources from the HDP expect Öcalan to share a detailed assessment with the public in his message.

“The withdrawal of all PKK elements beyond Turkey’s borders on the condition of the parties’ agreement, the PKK’s giving up use of arms against Turkey, the return of PKK militants to Turkey and transition to the stage of democratic politics,” are expected to be covered by Öcalan in his message.

Last week, Öcalan met chief of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Hakan Fidan, in his island prison. Sources said Öcalan received positive responses to his demands related to the “establishment of a monitoring board and negotiation delegations, as well as the improvement of working conditions,” sources said.

The same sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said “Öcalan had the impression that his expectations would be met.”

Earlier this week, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay reiterated that the government has been working on a “roadmap” for the revival of the stalled peace process with the PKK, without citing an exact date for the finalization of the roadmap. Atalay also said the end of September is an estimated, but not an exact timing for the finalization of the roadmap.

Referring to a recent meeting with Atalay, Buldan said the government told them they are not yet in a position to share a timetable with them.

“However, it was emphasized that it would be shared with our counterparts,” Buldan said, noting they would be meeting with related members of the Cabinet before Sept. 1.

In an Aug. 19 interview, in remarks widely considered an important milestone in the government’s efforts to disarm the PKK, Atalay indicated that the country’s national intelligence agency could engage in direct talks with the PKK’s top cadres on the Kandil Mountains.

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