Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan has slammed the outlawed PKK leadership located in the Qandil mountains for not assembling the “Disarmament Congress” called for by imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in March during Newroz celebrations, with maintaining the Kurdish-Turkish peace process being a central issue before the upcoming Turkish elections.
Disarmament of the PKK has been labelled by the Turkish government as the most critical part of the ongoing peace talks with the PKK which were initiated in 2012 to end the three decades long conflict between the militant organisation.
Akdogan said, “One of them from the Qandil spoke again saying "We would have convened a disarmament congress in April or May, but the Turkish government had not taken the necessary steps, and not changed the constitution. Therefore, we will not convene the congress.’ You would have convened the congress in April or May, and in the meantime, as the Turkish parliament is closed, how could the constitution possibly be changed? Isn’t that cheating?”
He asked, “What prevented you from convening the congress?”
Akdogan reacted to Bese Hozat, a co-president from the PKK Executive Council in Qandil, who recently spoke to Med Nuce, a pro-PKK TV channel. She said, “the PKK will not organize such a congress [on disarmament] before Kurdish question is not resolved. Such a congress could not be convened unless Kurdish identity is recognised, and the constitution is changed in accordance.”
Akdogan also said that the Turkish constitution can only be changed by the ‘nation’, itself, and the PKK leadership cannot threaten the Turkish state.
He said, “The ‘Resolution Process’ is not a process carried out by threats and blackmailing. This government will do what the nation asks.”
“Persuading the nation about the process is not only the mission of the Justice and Development Party [AK Party]. Come and convince the nation yourselves. The nation is here, come and try to persuade it. We are not a servant to realise your organization’s goals,” he added.
At the beginning of 2013, Turkey announced a peace initiative, formally called the “Resolution Process” following its previous “Democratic Initiative.” The PKK seemed responsive under the instructions of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan.
Akdogan criticised both the PKK leaders and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) saying that they are "using both politics and arms to get their own way."
He said, “You bury your arms, and say ‘this method is unacceptable, or should be out of use. We do not do not consent to a method based on killing,’ then, you can go anywhere in Turkey, and share your political views.”
“If the nation gives support to you, then it would be meaningful to debate that whether you will pass the election threshold or not,” he added.
Turkey has had a 10 percent electoral threshold since 1983.
The HDP has decided to hold meetings across Turkey to accumulate enough support to pass the electoral threshold.
Turkey has been confronted with armed struggle in its southeastern regions by the PKK, which was founded in 1974 by the currently imprisoned leader of the militant organisation, Abdullah Ocalan. Armed clashes and acts of violence have continued on and off for more than 30 years, and claimed more than 40,000 lives.