Pro-Kurdish HDP ‘could even work’ with Turkish nationalists

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party deputy Sirri Sureyya Onder says his party ‘could even work’ with Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party to further Kurdish-Turkish peace process

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Sirri Sureyya Onder, a leading figure in the HDP’s delegation in direct talks with Abdullah Ocalan, has said the HDP could even carry out Kurdish-Turkish peace process with the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

At the beginning of 2013, the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) announced a peace initiative called the “Resolution Process” following its previous “Democratic Initiative,” and the outlawed PKK seemed responsive under the instructions of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

Onder said, “We could even work with the MHP as long as there is a sincere commitment. We have tied up the peace process to a condition of democratic rule in the Dolmabahce declaration which meant to open channels for democratic politics.”

“Which Turkish nationalist could go against that? Which social democrat? Which conservative?” he asked.

MHP leader Devlet Bahceli has consistently refused to recognise Turkey’s peace process and accused the AK Party and its leaders of treason for launching the initiative and allowing discussions between Ocalan and a HDP delegation regarding the peace process.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan and a HDP delegation including Onder made a joint press conference on Feb. 28, 2015, in front of the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul following their agreement on the continuation of the peace process.

However, Akdogan and the HDP representatives appeared to have different views of the meeting and also different interpretations of the Dolmabahce declaration since the announcement of the declaration.  

HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas recently said “Could we talk about ‘a continuing process’ if only state officials visit Abdullah Ocalan without the HDP delegation and monitoring group? The process is frozen, and does not progress. Since the agreement of Dolmabahce, there have been no forward moves but backtracking,” speaking to Med Nuce, a pro-PKK TV channel.

Akdogan has denied Demirtas’ claim and said the process will be accelerated following the upcoming June general elections.

Akdogan said, “The resolution process is now a secondary issue because all the concentration is on the upcoming elections. But we continue our efforts connected to the process and following the elections it will proceed at an accelerated pace.”

“The owner of the ‘Resolution Process’ is us. We started the process. Therefore, we will continue it. We say it continues, they say it stopped,” he added.

Akdogan also emphasised that Ocalan called on the PKK to assemble a disarmament congress in April, but the PKK did not assemble the congress. He criticised the PKK leadership for coming up with more preconditions.

A disarmament call was issued by imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in March during the 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 2013 to end the three decades long conflict between the militant organisation and Turkish government.

Bese Hozat, a co-president from the PKK Executive Council in the Qandil Mountains, recently said “The PKK will not organise such a congress [on disarmament] before Kurdish question is resolved. Such a congress could not be convened unless Kurdish identity is recognised, and the constitution is changed in accordance.”

Akdogan stated that when Ocalan called the congress to convene in April he already knew the parliament would be closed at the proposed time and changing the constitution was not a possibility.

Akdogan previously criticised both the PKK leaders and the 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 consent to a method based on killing,’ then, you can go anywhere in Turkey, and share your political views.”

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also previously told the 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 the HDP comments suggesting uncertainty over the disarmament of the PKK.

Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern regions by the PKK, which was founded in 1974 by Abdullah Ocalan - the currently imprisoned leader of the militant organisation - and his supporters. Armed clashes and acts of violence have continued on and off for more than 30 years, and claimed more than 40,000 lives.

TRTWorld and agencies