Demirtas: State officials have not contacted me in prison
Imprisoned former co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) responded to questions by Halk TV's Ozlem Akarsu Celik after he disclosed during a court hearing on Thursday that in the course of the peace process back in 2014 the head of the Turkish intelligence agency wanted to meet him, in an apparent move to replace Abdullah Ocalan, the central figure in the dialogue between Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Demirtas told Celik that the meeting request had been made by Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIT) chief Hakan Fidan after the 2014 presidential election via Sureyya Onder, former deputy and a member of the delegation who met with PKK leader Ocalan at the prison in the island of Imrali.
"That was both politically and ethically an undecent proposal. It would mean assigning me a central role while meetings were already being held with Ocalan. I rejected it without a second thought. Such a move would only sabotage the resolution process, and would be insincere and hypocritical."
Asked if Turkish officials have had any contact with him in prison, Demirtas said:
"I had no direct or indirect contact with any state official since my first day in prison, and neither has there been any exchange of messages, any communication."
Referring to his recent request to have a video meeting with Ocalan, Celik asked if Demirtas had specific issues in mind to cover in such a meeting if it was approved by authorities.
"I would like to talk over recent developments, listen to him, and share my views with him. I'd have one condition for such a meeting though. My cellmate Adnan Selcuk Mizrakli would have to be in that meeting. I can't be alone in a meeting of historical significance and make myself vulnerable to all sorts of manipulations. I'm not sure if they'll give permission for it, but I hope they do. I hope we can contribute to dialogue and to the elimination of conflict."
Demirtas has been incarcerated in Edirne prison, some 1,680 km from his hometown Diyarbakir, since November 2016. He is kept in prison despite a December 2020 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that calls for his immediate release.