HDP co-chair calls for return to peace talks
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has called on Turkey’s government and to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to seize the opportunity to adopt braver policies and rekindle peace negotiations following the recent failed coup attempt.
“We once again repeat our call to the PKK and the government,” Demirtaş told members of his party during a parliamentary group meeting on July 26, adding that Turkey is “not the same” as it was on July 14.
“Even though the government is not moving toward democracy, society wants democracy and peace. I am making a call on the government and the PKK to re-evaluate the current situation,” he added, highlighting that “a braver politics, rhetoric and action” are necessary in order to meet the expectations of a traumatized society.
“This opportunity should not be missed. As politicians, we need to display virtue and maturity to resolve our problems at a peace-making table,” Demirtaş said.
The HDP co-chair criticized the months-long security operations against the PKK in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern provinces, saying supporters of the operations should not be surprised that “the military started to massacre all of us at Kızılay [Square in Ankara] or on the Bosphorus Bridge” during the coup attempt.
“Being against military coups is a prerequisite for being a democrat, but it is not sufficient. We can only be democratic if we oppose coups and defend a complete democracy to avoid coups,” Demirtaş stated, expressing support for a “new, liberal constitution.”
“If we are to accomplish all of this, we should crown it with a new, civilian, liberal, and pluralistic constitution. This people who resisted against the coup do not deserve a state of emergency. They deserve a liberal constitution,” he added.
Demirtaş also slammed a new law passed one day before the coup attempt, which provides legal protection to soldiers taking part in anti-terror operations and allows the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to participate in operations in urban areas.
The law, which increases the authority of all soldiers participating in security operations against groups listed as terrorist organizations, also provides a legal shield to security officials by requiring permission to launch probes in case of wrongdoings.
“This law should be withdrawn. The Gendarmerie General Command and the Chief of Staff should operate under the government and should be open to the revision of parliament,” Demirtaş said.