Gov’t ‘will not complicate and tangle up’ ongoing process: PM Erdoğan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will make the opening speech of the UN Alliance of Civilizations Forum in Vienna on Feb. 27. AA photoThe government does not want to “complicate and tangle up” the ongoing peace process with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during a press briefing in Ankara on Feb. 26.
Following a visit by three, government approved, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers to jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan on Feb. 23, the party stated earlier Feb. 26 that Öcalan was seeking to end the process within two or three weeks.
“There won’t be any problem of when the terrorist organization will lay down its arms and leave our country,” Erdoğan said in Ankara before heading to Austria, where he is set to participate in the UN Alliance of Civilizations Forum. “Those who have not committed a crime could join their homes and families. Those who will lay down their arms and leave our country, there are a lot of places that there can go in the world. They can go to neighboring countries or to other [more distant] countries. That is their choice.”
Erdoğan stressed they would consider propositions in line with the government’s principles as “positive developments.” However, the prime minister refused to respond to a question regarding rumors March 21 is the potential date for a ceasefire and that August 15 would signal the definitive retreat of PKK militants from Turkey.
Erdoğan also criticized BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş’s comment that Turks and Kurds “were not joined at the hip” as people. “Making the diagnostic that there are two people in this country is discrimination. Demirtaş should learn that. I am joined at the hip to my Kurdish brothers. That’s how we see the issue while we try to erase ethnic discrimination,” he said.