HDP co-chair Demirtaş responsible for any bloodshed: Turkish PM
The prime minister’s remarks came in response to an earlier statement by Demirtaş, the co-leader of the HDP, a key player in the Kurdish political movement represented at Parliament, which had appeared in daily Bugün. AFP photoPrime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has upped the stakes in the Kurdish peace process, declaring that Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş will be responsible for any future bloodshed in the country.
“Our minds have always been clear about the resolution process. We haven’t hesitated. But the statement by Demirtaş saying, ‘We will stop the security package in the streets,’ is very irresponsible,” Davutoğlu was quoted as saying by CNNTürk, speaking to a group of journalists on board a plane returning from Warsaw to Ankara on Dec. 9.
The prime minister’s remarks came in response to an earlier statement by Demirtaş, the co-leader of the HDP, a key player in the Kurdish political movement represented at Parliament, which appeared in daily Bugün earlier in the day.
Demirtaş particularly criticized the controversial new government-led security package, saying “protests in the street” will halt the bill in its tracks. The package, which is still yet to be adopted, would lead to the adoption of a controversial judiciary bill that has stirred angry debate about measures allowing searches to be conducted on the basis of mere “reasonable doubt,” without any concrete evidence.
“I’m warning Demirtaş. If he is saying they will turn the streets into lakes of blood, then he is responsible for each drop of blood to be shed. Public order is a need for everybody – for Demirtaş, too,” Davutoğlu said.
According to Demirtaş, the government is using the deadly Kobane protests of Oct. 6-7 as a pretext for the security package, the implementation of which would result in the “killing of young people who would fall like flies.”
“If you adopt this bill, it will backfire. People will not be scared, and they will take to the streets,” the HDP co-chair said.
The debate between the government and the HDP executives over public order and security was particularly heated after street unrest that peaked on Oct. 6 and 7 and led to the deaths of dozens of people in clashes between rival groups. The unrest followed protests over the government’s perceived inaction toward Syrian Kurds besieged by jihadists in the town of Kobane.
“The government is very scared of social opposition and the streets. Especially, President [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] is losing sleep over it. Since he can’t sleep in his palace when the streets are so hot and mobilized and ready to explode at any moment, he would like to take measures. This security package is [Erdoğan’s] bill. We will object to it both at Parliament and also in the streets via our rallies and marches. If the bill is adopted, we will fight for its amendment,” Demirtaş also said.
His remarks followed killing of an 18-year-old Kurdish protester over the weekend during clashes with police in southeastern Turkey.
The victim, Rojhat Özdel, was killed by a bullet when anti-riot police responded to stone-throwing protesters at a rally in Yüksekova in the Eastern Anatolian province of Hakkari on Dec. 6, according to witnesses.
Local authorities said the young protester was “implicated in violence against police forces.”
The protest rally had been called to commemorate the death of three demonstrators in the same city in a confrontation with police a year ago.
‘Parallel structure’ and HDP
Meanwhile, Davutoğlu also drew attention to the fact that Demirtaş’s remarks came in an interview with Bugün, indicating that the daily was known to be close to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, referred to by government officials as the “parallel state” or “parallel structure.”
“We know about the meetings being held between the parallel structure and the organization,” he said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “The public should know about this connection.”
The prime minister also repeated his argument that there is no need for the involvement of a third party in the ongoing peace process, which is aimed at ending the three-decade-long fight between the PKK and Turkey’s security forces. The HDP has been calling for a “third eye” in talks in a bid to objectively share the process with the public.
“There is no need for the third party. I will talk to opinion leaders. As long as they are happy, the process will go on,” Davutoğlu said.
The winding road to Kandil
The fierce argument between Davutoğlu and Demirtaş came just a day after a HDP delegation held a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan on Dec. 8.
The same HDP delegation had visited the jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan, on Nov. 29, after a remarkably long hiatus since the last visit, which took place on Oct. 22.
After its meetings with Öcalan and Akdoğan, the HDP delegation was headed to the Kandil Mountains along the Iranian border of Iraq in order to meet executives of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), the urban wing of the PKK, on Dec. 9.