Gov’t, HDP prepare joint text for Kurdish peace
Deniz Zeyrek ANKARA
HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş greets supporters in the eastern province of Bingöl. Demirtaş has confirmed that a joint statement on the subsequent steps in the peace process could soon be released. DHA Photo.The most critical stage in hectic talks between the government and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on the resolution process, which has recently gained visible momentum, has arrived.
At meetings held on two consecutive days earlier this week, Deputy PM Yalçın Akdoğan and the HDP delegation, composed of Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Pervin Buldan and Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder, drafted a “joint statement” which was put forward as a condition by the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, for the announcement of a “reinforced cease-fire.” In order not to encounter any problem from the PKK side, the HDP sent the text to the PKK headquarters in Iraq.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who cut his trip to Latin America a day earlier than planned, also wanted to see the text before it was announced, sources said.
Erdoğan, who is known to have been following the developments in resolution process closely after taking office as president in August following his 12-year prime ministry, has been keeping his eyes on the hectic traffic among the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the HDP, sources said.
Unprecedented shuttle talks are continuing to advance the resolution process, which is aimed at ending the three-decade-old conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the PKK, with the government delivering a promising message, saying, “Good things will happen.”
‘Good news coming’
“Important statements will come in the coming days,” Beşir Atalay, the spokesperson for the AKP, said Feb. 13 when reminded in an interview with NTV of comments suggesting that Kandil could not be persuaded.
“We know that meetings are going well and we will receive good news. Inshallah certain progress will be made and this will also have a great contribution to elections [parliamentary election scheduled for June 7]. After violence is abandoned and arms are laid down, then things that will be carried out by the government will come,” Atalay said.
In last three days, more than five meetings were held among İmralı, Ankara and Kandil. İmralı is a byword for Öcalan, who is serving a life-sentence on the İmralı Island Prison in the Marmara Sea.
During the meetings the government was represented by Akdoğan and Interior Minister Efkan Ala; the AKP was represented by Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mahir Ünal; and the HDP was represented by another deputy parliamentary group chair of the party, İdris Baluken, in addition to Buldan and Önder.
The focus of the meetings was to agree to a joint text that would provide a framework for the resolution process and the joint announcement of that text together by representatives of the government, the AKP and the HDP.
A general conciliation was arrived on the text which included 10 demands from Öcalan and the HDP concerning a “democratic republic.”
Accordingly, Feb. 15 was outlined as the date of a meeting where the joint statement would be announced. By setting this date, the parties also aimed to create a positive environment instead of probable protests on the anniversary of Öcalan’s capture in Kenya in a joint operation of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the CIA on Feb. 15, 1999.
Yet, when the KCK executives also wanted to review the text, such a plan was disrupted. Thus, a HDP delegation composed of Buldan; Baluken; Hatip Dicle, the co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK); and Ceylan Bağrıyanık, a women’s rights activist and writer, departed for Kandil Mountains on Feb. 13. Upon consent from the KCK executives, a state delegation led by officials from the Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security and the İmralı delegation of the HDP will gather in a meeting with Öcalan.
If consent from both Erdoğan and Kandil is provided for the text, a joint statement will be read out by an HDP deputy at a press conference where representatives from the government and the AKP will also be present.
The text will include the government’s perspective of the resolution, the PKK’s disarmament and Öcalan’s expectation of a “democratic republic and a new constitution.” Afterwards, Öcalan will make a call to the PKK for a “reinforced cease-fire” which will be read out on Nevruz on March 21, considered by Kurds to mark the first day of spring, in Diyarbakır.
The call will be meant to say that the PKK will no longer launch any armed activity and will lay down arms during the process. Both the government and Öcalan want a “reinforced cease-fire” and the withdrawal of PKK militants to begin before the June 7 election.