Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) that one stakeholder cannot attempt to withdraw from the Kurdish-Turkish peace process at this point in time, as the process has been embraced by the people and has become public property, in response to HDP comments on uncertainty over the disarmament of the PKK.
A disarmament call was issued by imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in March during Newroz celebrations. Disarmament of the PKK has been labelled 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 organization and Turkish government.
However, it was reported by columnist Muzaffer Ayata of the pro-HDP newspaper, Ozgur Gundem, that the PKK has given up on disarmament after recent remarks by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the existence of a “Kurdish problem.”
Erdogan had said that there is “no Kurdish problem in Turkey” and that the Kurdish peace process - formally initiated as Resolution Process aimed at resolving issues associated with d different ethnic backgrounds as well as tackling other social problems in Turkey ranging from the debate over the headscarf to education in different languages - is a natural result of democratic reforms carried out by the government, noting that “those claiming existence of a Kurdish problem are cause of disintegration in society.”
Erdogan said the “Resolution Process” is a process in which the demands, and rights of all Turkish citizens, including Kurdish citizens, should be debated and addressed.
“Limiting the process to a particular region, or a particular people is primarily an injustice to the Kurds. People who desire to keep ‘Resolution Process’ within the parenthesis of the Kurdish question have other plans. They want to have a sphere of exploitation in the name of the Kurdish question,” he said.
Davutoglu said, “Today the ‘Resolution Process’ has ceased to be an issue of one shareholder, it became public property,” as he met with representatives of German TV channels during his visit to Germany before the upcoming June election.
“Therefore, claiming in any way the ‘Resolution Process stopped here,’ can not be done by one party by itself,” he added.
At the beginning of 2013, Turkey announced a peace initiative following its previous “Democratic Initiative,” and the PKK seemed responsive under the instructions of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan.
Sureyya Sirri Onder, a leading figure in HDP’s delegation in direct talks with Ocalan, recently remarked that “There is a table, but its seats are empty now. As of now, the process lost its authority not only in terms of sincerity but also by the President’s campaign to discredit it, and the process was disclaimed by the Turkish government [after the President’s statement about Kurdish question]. Now, the process lost its character to resolve [Kurdish] question.”
Davutoglu also stressed legal limits in Turkish law preventing a resolution to the Kurdish question have been overcome.
He said, “The law was passed and mechanisms for resolution were established. Indeed, what was not overcome was the efforts of the HDP and other parties such as the armed unit of PKK, ‘Qandil’ to display the process their own success story by constantly wavering and behaving narrow-mindedly.”
Turkey has been long been engaged armed struggle with the outlawed PKK that was founded in 1974 by Ocalan and his supporters. Fighting between the group and the government has claimed more than 40,000 lives.