Review by Christos T. Panagopoulos
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Bülent Arınç, rejected a request made by the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, to hold a press conference on İmralı Island, according to daily Hürriyet.
“It was Öcalan’s wish to say that ‘I want to held a meeting with press.’ But [organizing a press conference] seems impossible according to the judicial legislation in hand. When you look at previous regulations, it seems impossible for a prisoner to take press members in front of him and organize a press conference where he is. Even asking this question is illicit”, Arınç said in a press conference held after a Cabinet meeting on July 22nd.
He added that there were regulations in place determining how and when a prisoner, serving aggravated life imprisonment, could meet his or her lawyers or relatives.
Öcalan had expressed his wish to organize a press briefing from his prison on İmrali Island, urging the government to move more quickly to the next phase of the peace process and speed up discussions on reforms on July 21st, according to a statement released by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
“The government should take concrete steps with respect to creating the means allowing me to express myself more. I would like to express my unease that those means are currently limited. When there is such a fire around Turkey, creating the means to allow me to fulfill my role on the resolution [of the Kurdish issue] should be natural,” Öcalan said.
“I could make important contributions to moving the process forward healthily if I had the opportunity to directly inform the public through a press meeting on İmralı Island. The government should have no hesitations regarding this kind of simple steps”. he added.