“The recent attacks [staged by the PKK] might destroy the bridges between peoples,” Öcalan said to his brother Mehmet Öcalan during a meeting on Sept. 21 on İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara where Öcalan is jailed, the Hürriyet daily reported on Friday.
“I will do my best to prevent this rupture,” Öcalan reportedly stated, calling the PKK attacks “reckless.”
Nothing has been heard in months from Öcalan, who used to regularly meet with his lawyers, BDP officials and relatives. Öcalan had previously delivered messages through his lawyers about PKK violence and the Kurdish issue. His months-long and unusual silence had even triggered speculation as to whether he was still in prison on İmralı Island and even whether he was still alive.
Following these speculations, a request from Mehmet Öcalan for a meeting with the PKK leader was accepted by the Ministry of Justice and the two met, which was recently confirmed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Öcalan wrote a letter to the Ministry of Justice in July in which he offered an explanation for his prolonged silence, saying he will no longer speak through his lawyers as they distort his remarks and accused the PKK and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) of deceiving him.
The last time Öcalan met with his lawyers was on July 27, 2011, in the aftermath of a PKK attack in Diyarbakır's Silvan district, which claimed the lives of 13 soldiers and dashed hopes for the solution of the Kurdish issue.
At this meeting, Öcalan reportedly told his lawyers: “I am very saddened about the killing of 13 soldiers and PKK militants. The fire that targets soldiers and guerillas is the same fire. If weapons are not fully silenced, the necessary steps not taken and this [Kurdish] problem not resolved, clashes will be inevitable.”
In a move that confirmed his statements in the letter, Öcalan refused to meet with his brother Mehmet, who had wanted to pay him a visit, on Jan. 19 this year.
At that time, Mehmet Öcalan told the press that his brother had sent him a message saying: “The atmosphere in this place is very sensitive now. It is not appropriate for us to meet.”
Öcalan was captured in Kenya on Feb. 15, 1999, while traveling from the Greek Embassy to the Nairobi International Airport, in an operation carried out by Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MİT). He was sentenced to death that same year, but his sentence was suspended and later commuted to life imprisonment when the death penalty for peacetime offenses was abolished in Turkey in August 2002.