Exiled Kurdish leader tells PM in letter he wants to return

March 02, 2011, Wednesday/ 17:02:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Yaşar Kaya, the former leader of a now-defunct Kurdish party, the Democracy Party (DEP), who has been abroad for nearly two decades, has written a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressing his desire to return to Turkey.

Kaya said in his letter that he would like to return and contribute to the solution of the Kurdish problem. The letter was published in the Taraf daily yesterday. “My yearning for my country can be subdued neither by jail nor by threats or anything else. I believe in peace. I want to return to my country and contribute to the process.” He also said: “I have been a refugee in Europe for 17 years. If there is anything I shall account for, I am ready to do so. I have never held a gun in my life nor have I set up a clandestine organization. Let there be no more deaths of children of the two peoples.”

He added that Turkey was undergoing a historic process of reconciliation and that he wanted to be a part of the process.

Kaya’s statement comes days after exiled Kurdish folk singer Şivan Perwer and Kurdish intellectual and socialist leader Kemal Burkay also said they wanted to return to Turkey. Perwer and Kaya reside in Germany, while Burkay is in Sweden. Kaya wrote: “I am 74, and half of my life has been spent in prison, exile or undergoing torture. … I had four heart surgery operations. If I were young, I would come and do my time in jail. After this age, being jailed in Turkey would greatly damage the reputation of my country, and it would also severely hurt me. I found peace in fleeing the country. I have survived a number of assassination attempts.”

He asked the prime minister to pass the necessary legislation to allow Turkey’s exiled Kurds to return. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Erdoğan yesterday said, in response to a question from the press regarding Burkay and Perwer: “They are under threat [of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)]. They are more than welcome to return.”

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