Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan has denied the claim by pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas that Kurdish-Turkish peace process is “frozen,” and announced that the process will be accelerated following the upcoming June general elections.
Akdogan said, “The resolution process [peace 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.
At the beginning of 2013, Turkey announced a peace initiative following its previous “Democratic Initiative,” and the outlawed PKK seemed responsive under the instructions of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan.
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 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 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 organization 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 is closed at the proposed time and changing the constitution is not a possibility.
Akdogan previously 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.”
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also previously 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 the HDP comments on 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.