Peace process started because operations were not enough: Turkish Deputy PM
Arınç emphasized that there had not been any casualties during the four months of talks. AA photoThe Turkish government initiated the peace process after observing that the activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) had not completely ceased despite successful operations by the security forces, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said May 3. “It was not enough, so the government became persuaded that something else should be done. The National Intelligence Organization determined that the person behind bars for 13-14 years [PKK’s leader Abdullah Öcalan] could be a start. That doesn’t mean that we like him but an intelligent policy would try to make use of him,” Arınç said during an interview aired by private broadcaster CNNTürk.
Senior PKK leader Murat Karayılan told a press conference held in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq on April 25 that the PKK would start a withdrawal from Turkish soil on May 8. He told Turkish journalists that he expected the process would be completed in autumn at the earliest.
The deputy prime minister also said that it was very difficult to know when exactly the PKK would lay down its arms and the process would be brought to a conclusion. “[The Kurdish issue] is a spiral that goes back to the end of the First World War, the foundation of the Republic and the single-party period, it grew like a snowball until today. I don’t know when [PKK will lay down arms]. But there is no one who could answer this question,” he said adding that it would be possible to comment on the withdrawal only after it its completion. “How they will withdraw, this is not our concern. We only solve this question within the scope of the law.”
Arınç emphasized that there had not been any casualties during the four months of talks. He also said that it was not easy to forecast the reaction of the organization, hinting at the fact that Karayılan, the defacto leader of the militant forces at the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq, tried to interfere in the process. “They received Öcalan’s instructions positively, but as we see in Karayılan’s statements he is trying to carry the process in some other context,” he said.
No insistence if three parties are against Presidential system
Arınç also touched on the issue of bringing an eventual transition to a Presidential system in Turkey. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is ready to abandon the proposition if the other three parties that have seats in the Parliament were against the proposition at the Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission. Nevertheless, Arınç noted that a weak President would be problematic as he would be elected by universal suffrage. “The President chosen by the people will use the prerogatives of a President chosen by the Parliament. There is an opinion which asks these prerogatives to be redefined. I am open to that point of view.”