Ankara arranged meeting between jailed PKK leader Öcalan and brother - HDP lawmaker

Saturday’s meeting between the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan and his brother on İmrali island took place on the invitation of the Turkish government, independent news site T24 quoted pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy  Ömer Öcalan as saying.

The meeting between the pair, the first since 2016, followed after a hunger strike led by HDP MP Leyla Güven against the PKK leader’s prison conditions.

Öcalan has been serving a life sentence on İmrali island prison in Turkey since 1999, on charges of treason for leading the armed group which has been fighting Kurdish autonomy in southeast Turkey for over 30 years.

Last month, 10 deputies from the HDP also began a hunger strike in support of HDP’s Güven, who is on the 67th day of a hunger strike to protest the solitary confinement of Öcalan.

"The meeting took approximately half an hour. As a family we request a visit every week and the state invited us, called on our family and answered our request [the see Ocalan] positively,’’ HDP lawmaker Öcalan said.

The 70-year-old PKK leader last met with his brother on Sept. 11 2016, before which a group of HDP deputies went on a hunger strike in protest of the PKK leader’s isolation. The group ended their strike following the pair's meeting.

Ankara accuses HDP lawmakers of harbouring sympathies and working in the interest of the PKK, an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for independence for over 30 years.