HDP co-chair visits slain soldier's family, urges ceasefire between gov't, PKK
HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş speaks during an interview with AFP in Brussels on August 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYSPeoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has called on the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to resume ceasefire before visiting the family of a slain soldier.
"We are making a call today to both sides. PKK should immediately remove their hands from the trigger, declaring that it would comply with the terms of the reinforced ceasefire," Demirtaş said in a press conference in the eastern province of Van on Aug. 8. "The government should immediately set the military operation option aside, declaring that it is ready for negotiations and dialogue," he added.
Stressing the need of end the ongoing violence as coalitions talks linger on, Demirtaş said Turkey's Kurdish peace process should continue from where it halted after the Dolmabahçe agreement reached on Feb. 28 with the government.
"This is the strongest expectation of the public. A coalition government may be formed or early elections may be called, but in any way peace is an urgent duty," Demirtaş noted, claiming that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, are "obliged" to make peace. "This is not our demand from the AKP. You are obliged to make peace," he said.
In a symbolic move, Demirtaş then went to the southeastern province of Şırnak's Silopi district and visited the family of Abdulhalit Araz, a gendarmarie private who was killed by PKK militants with a rocket on Aug. 4. "We can't practice discrimination in our funerals. We can't say one of them is Turkish and the other is Kurdish," Demirtaş said in the Araz family's house after a prayer. "The only way to stop this pain is insisting on peace," he added.
It was Demirtaş's second call for ceasefire in a week. On Aug. 2, he had also called the government and the AKP to to end violence at a time that his party has been in contact with both parties.
An HDP delegation consisting of two MPs from the HDP, İdris Baluken and Sırrı Süreyya Önder, visited Muhammed Dervişoğlu, the undersecretary of the Public Order and Security (KDGM), on Aug. 4 in the first official contact since talks were paused in April because of the start of campaigning for the June 7 elections, official and party sources confirmed to the Hürriyet Daily News.
After meetings with the leaders of PKK's European branch in the Belgian capital, Demirtaş said the address to solve the Kurdish peace process was the Turkish capital rather than Brussels, after his meetings with the leaders of PKK's European branch in the Belgian capital.
PKK militants killed 24 Turkish security forces between July 7 and August 8, according to Anadolu Agency, as Ankara intensified its air strikes targeting the outlawed organization's bases in northern Iraq.