Five PKK convicts transferred to Imralı prison for secretarial work
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMar 16, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Mar 16, 2015 12:00 am
Five PKK convicts are being delivered to the prison on İmralı Island where the leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, is serving his aggravated life sentence, to conduct his secretarial work during the reconciliation process in which the government and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) have engaged to end the conflict between the PKK and the state. The new prisoner transfer will replace five convicts including PKK members and one member of the Liberation Army of Workers and Peasants of Turkey (TİKKO), an illegal leftist organization, who had been sent to the İmralı prison roughly four years ago. Meanwhile, the HDP has put an end to the debate over whether Öcalan's anticipated message for the annual Nevruz celebrations will be delivered via video, saying his message will be conveyed in a letter, as has happened in previous years. There are also rumors that there is a possibility that the letter will simultaneously be read in Diyarbakır province and at the PKK headquarters in Iraq's Qandil Mountains. On Monday HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş said that what counts is the content of the message, not how it is conveyed.
Four PKK members and one TİKKO member who had been transferred to İmralı Island in November 2009 were moved to other prisons on the weekend. The vacancies will be filled with new arrival of five PKK members who will be tasked with doing secretary work during the talks Öcalan holds on İmralı Island as part of reconciliation process efforts.
Among the convicts is Ömer Hayri Konar, who was convicted and given an aggravated life sentence for his attempt to separate the administration of territory that belongs to the state. He has been behind bars for 13 years. Mehmet Sait Yıldırım has been in prison for 18 years on the same grounds and was given a life sentence. Çetin Arkaş is also serving a life sentence after being convicted for being a threat to the unity of the state. Nasrullah Kuran is incarnated on same grounds. Veysi Aktaş has been behind bars for 21 years and was convicted on the same charges.
The conflict between the Turkish government and the PKK, considered a terrorist group by Turkey as well as the U.S. and EU, has been ongoing since 1984 and has resulted in some 40,000 to 100,000 estimated casualties, as well as major economic losses for Turkey. The PKK, which at first aimed to establish a Kurdish state in southeast Turkey, has also suffered heavy losses during the clashes.
The ruling party, in a bid to end the decades-long conflict between the state and the PKK, launched the reconciliation process, which is close to reaching a conclusion, as Öcalan's call for disarmament in a statement read out live by a HDP deputy roughly two weeks ago accelerated the process. Since then, all eyes have turned to İmralı Island, where Öcalan is imprisoned, for his call for leaving arms behind is on hand, which is expected to be delivered at the annual Nevruz festival via his usual peace message. Until then, HDP deputies are paying visits to Öcalan to speed up the negotiations.