The imprisoned leader of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, is to receive a visit from his brother today before the long-awaited arrival of a Kurdish delegation that is expected to join the ongoing peace talks.
Mehmet Öcalan set off by boat for the island of İmralı from the port of Gemlik in northwestern Turkey early on Monday to see his brother.
“This is a family visit; it doesn't have any political motivation,” Mehmet Öcalan told the Anatolia news agency. He refused to comment on the peace talks aimed at ending the Kurdish conflict. Abdullah Öcalan's brother last visited him on Jan. 14.
This latest visit comes before a long-awaited visit by a Kurdish delegation.
Last week, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy (BDP) named three Kurdish politicians -- Ahmet Türk, co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and an independent deputy; BDP Co-Chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş; and BDP parliamentary group deputy chairwoman Pervin Buldan -- who will join the peace talks with the PKK.
If their participation is approved by the Ministry of Justice, these deputies will go to İmralı Prison to meet with Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence on the island.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday that which Kurdish politicians will meet with Öcalan were to be decided on Sunday evening, but no further statements have yet been made by the prime minister.
Öcalan has been held in virtual isolation on İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara since his capture in 1999. Access to him remains tightly controlled and even his lawyers have not seen him in more than a year.
Turkey disclosed last month that it has begun discussing with Öcalan how to put an end to a conflict in which more than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish homeland in Turkey's Southeast.