Friday, September 17, 2010

Ocalan Says They Gave Chance To Ruling Turkish Party


Rudaw News Agency

Abdulla Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has made his first exclusive interview last week with a Turkish-language newspaper since he was put solitarily behind bars by Turkey in 1999.

The interview included questions about last week’s referendum in which as many as 58 of people voted for a substantial change in the country’s constitution.

The Constitutional amendments were a package proposed by the ruling Islamic-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

The Kurds largely boycotted the referendum, a move, Ocalan says, has led to the success of Erdogan’s reform package.

“If we voted “no” for the constitutional reform package put forth by the AKP, the reform would have failed to proceed,” said Ocalan in the interview without being indicated whether it was conducted face-to-face, by email or phone.

“We gave the final opportunity and chance to Erdogan.”

The interview was published in Akşam on September 15, three days after the referendum.

Ocalan said that since he was jailed in Imrali, the prison located in a Turkish island, he has held talks with top military and civilian officials of Turkey in prison.

“In the beginning, the teams I talked to were military teams. They wanted to have intelligence kind of discussion,” said Ocalan. “But I wanted to have a formal dialogue with the civilian authority.”

“Now the teams coming for discussions with me are civilians rather than military.”

Ocalan, a former university student who established the PKK in1984, has received a life-sentence from the Turkish Supreme Court.

The PKK, which remains active in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, sees the release of Ocalan as an essential condition for them to lay down arms.

In the early days of the holy month of Ramadan the PKK declared a 40-day unilateral ceasefire scheduled to be called off on September 20. The ceasefire helped as many as 73 percent turnout of Turkish voter feel more secure in last Sunday’s plebiscite.

Rudaw News Agency