Speaking to reporters on his way to Ankara from Isparta on Monday, Bahçeli spoke about the ongoing debates about the Republican People's Party's (CHP) initiative to resolve the Kurdish problem, which his party does not approve of.
Rejecting the CHP's proposal for a meeting with the MHP to discuss a roadmap for a solution to the Kurdish problem, Bahçeli said he finds Öcalan's silence over the latest debates unusual.
“Today, the government and the opposition met for a solution to the so-called Kurdish problem. They talk about a mass consensus commission and a ‘wise men' group. Why has Abdullah Öcalan, who also has views on this and has voiced them so many times before, remained silent? Is he unaware of the developments or is he not at İmralı? This prolonged silence raises questions. And so I ask Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is he [Öcalan] there?” Bahçeli asked.
Bahçeli said the lack of statements from Öcalan's lawyers also made him question if the PKK leader was still imprisoned on İmralı. Öcalan, who was jailed in 1999, frequently makes statements about the current developments of a solution to the Kurdish problem through his lawyers.
Erdoğan responded to the MHP leader's question during his party's parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday. “What will you do if you see with your own eyes that he is alive? We should take this gentleman [Bahçeli] to İmralı, but it may set a bad example to the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party] deputies,” he said.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday Bahçeli continued to criticize the CHP initiative to seek a solution to the Kurdish problem, reiterating that his party will not entertain any requests by the CHP for an appointment.
Speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting, Bahçeli said the CHP is not ashamed to be acting as the PKK's mouthpiece and has taken the party's place in the ranks of separatists.
The MHP denies the existence of a Kurdish problem in Turkey. Bahçeli stated that his party would never participate in a process which he claims would lead to Turkey's fragmentation.