HDP co-chair Demirtaş calls on PKK to halt violence ‘without ifs or buts’
ISTANBUL – Agence France-Presse
AA PhotoThe Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has called on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to halt a month of violence against security forces “without ifs or buts.”
The comments were the clearest call yet from HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş for the PKK to agree to an unconditional cease-fire, although the leader also called for a summary end to government attacks in the east and southeast.
“The PKK has to stop its armed attacks and bombings in the towns and the mountains without ifs or buts,” the Doğan News Agency quoted Demirtaş as saying in a speech in the western city of İzmir.
“There is no alternative for us. More deaths of Kurds, Turks, soldiers, guerillas and police must be stopped,” said Demirtaş.
“The government must halt operations with ifs or buts [as well],” he said.
The government accuses the HDP of being the PKK’s political wing but Demirtaş has repeatedly insisted that there is distance between the two organizations.
With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan now planning to call snap polls for Nov. 1, the HDP is mindful of not putting off its non-Kurdish supporters who voted for the party in inconclusive June 7 polls.
The HDP then easily broke through the 10 percent threshold needed to win seats in the parliament largely thanks to its success in expanding its support base.
The PKK has been staging daily retaliatory attacks against the Turkish Armed Forces as the military keeps up air raids and operations against the group’s strongholds in southeast Turkey as well as northern Iraq.
Over 50 members of the Turkish security forces have now been killed in attacks blamed on the PKK, leaving a 2013 cease-fire in tatters.
Demirtaş accused Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of “wanting” a civil war in Turkey to boost his own power.
“No one has anything to win from a civil war in Turkey. Just look at Syria and Iraq.” But Demirtaş said killing soldiers and police was not the way to bring the AKP to account. “They are also the children of this country, our children,” he said.
Erdoğan is hoping that that AKP will regain its overall majority in the Nov. 1 polls that it lost on June 7.
But Demirtaş said such ambitions would not be realized, forecasting that the AKP would not even record the score of almost 41 percent it saw at the last polls.