CHP says talks with Öcalan unacceptable
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily NewsMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu came out Sept. 28 as strictly opposed to the possibility of dialogue with Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK), saying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is taking steps to secure a modus vivendi with the PKK prior to presidential elections in 2014.
“If the prime minister says a dialogue process should be launched with Öcalan, his counterpart is Öcalan from now on. I cannot accept this. He accepts those who hold arms as counterpart, but refuses to hold talks with [Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)] lawmakers, who do not carry arms. What a contradiction. We cannot accept this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that Erdoğan wants to secure a temporary cease-fire with the PKK during the upcoming presidential elections in 2014.
Heated debate over Aygün’s remarks
An argument erupted earlier on Sept. 28 at a closed-door meeting between CHP deputy Hüseyin Aygün and other CHP lawmakers who have been described as representing the “neo-nationalist wing of the party,” Hürriyet Daily News has learned.
Aygün was kidnapped by PKK militants in August and said at the time of his release that “the young fellows who undertook this [kidnapping] are children of this country too, and they said they wanted to send a message of peace and a call for a cease-fire with this action.”
Kılıçdaroğlu had earlier expressed his support for Aygün, saying there was nothing wrong in his statements. Aygün, following Kılıçdaroğlu, on Aug. 18 said “It has become clear that the CHP will not be on the same side with neo-nationalist and racist mentalities.”
These remarks sparked fury among some CHP lawmakers, with Tanju Özcan asking Aygün in Friday’s meeting to disclose who he meant to describe as “neo-nationalists and racists.” Aygün allegedly stood up and said “You have no capacity to understand my remarks.”
Infuriated by Aygün’s words, Kayseri deputy Şevki Kulkuloğlu attempted to advance upon Aygün, calling him “ill-bred.” CHP Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu and lawmaker Binnaz Toprak rebuffed Kulkuloğlu. Some other lawmakers took Kulkuloğlu outside the meeting hall to calm him down.
CHP Istanbul deputy Nur Serter also harshly criticized the party’s administration over the CHP leader’s positive remarks on the topic of possible talks with the PKK. “You said you are not against talks with the PKK. If the PKK demands a federation or autonomy, will you say ‘yes’ to those demands?” Serter asked Kılıçdaroğlu.
“There’s nothing to worry about,” Kılıçdaroğlu briefly said in response to reporters’ questions about the row following the meeting.