Jailed PKK Leader Says State Asked Him To Kill Prime Minister

ANKARA (Today’s Zaman)—The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, Abdullah Öcalan, said the state wanted his party to kill former prime minister Tansu Çiller but he refused, according to a recently published book by journalist Cengiz Kapmaz titled, “Öcalan’ın İmralı’daki Günleri,” Today’s Zaman reported Wednesday.

“I don’t remember whether I related this before or not. In 1996, someone from the state wanted us [the PKK] to kill Çiller. They told me that they were going to prepare the necessary conditions and that we would just kill her. But I did not accept that. We have been against such conspiracy attempts from the very beginning,” Öcalan was quoted as saying in the book. Öcalan reportedly made these remarks in 2007 to his lawyers.

Öcalan, who was captured three year’s later in 1999, was initially sentenced to death but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment when the death penalty was abolished in Turkey in August 2002. He has been serving a life sentence on İmralı Island in the Marmara Sea since his capture.

The book alleges that the PKK has links with Turkey’s deep state. According to the book, the prosecution in the case against Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network nested within the state, bureaucracy and military, highlights various instances of collaboration and cooperation between Ergenekon and the PKK in the three indictments submitted thus far in the case.

Hüseyin Yıldırım, the former right-hand man of Öcalan, recently said in an interview that the Ergenekon terrorist organization, an instrument of the deep state, is behind the conflict between Turks and Kurds in Turkey and that Öcalan is also under the control of the deep state.

Turkey has fought the PKK since 1984 when it was set up with the goal of establishing an autonomous Kurdish state in the eastern and southeastern parts of Turkey. The Turkish government claims that more than 40,000 soldiers and civilians have been killed in clashes thus far.

Kapmaz’s 500-page book presents Öcalan’s accounts to his lawyers since his capture.

According to the book, Öcalan was interrogated by a special team for 10 days after he was brought to İmralı Prison. The team included high-ranking officials from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), the Gendarmerie General Command and National Police Department as well as retired Col. Atilla Uğur, who represented then-Chief of General Staff Gen. Hüseyin Kıvrıkoğlu.

The book also says that Öcalan wrote many letters to top state officials including former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, former Parliament Speaker and current Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and current President Abdullah Gül from prison. According to the book, Öcalan sent three letters to Erdoğan.

The journalist also argues in the book that some military commanders told Öcalan in 2000 to step up the terrorist group’s fight against Turkish soldiers. According to the journalist, a few military commanders paid a visit to Öcalan in his cell in 2000. They reportedly told Öcalan that no one would take him seriously if the PKK continued its fight in small conflicts.

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