Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks in an event marking world environment day June 6. AA Photo
There seems no end in sight to escalating tension between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
and pro-Kurdish politicians, with both sides accusing each other of being hypocritical over the prospects of the stalled peace process.
Without citing his name openly, Erdoğan pushed Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş again June 6, declaring the latter “shameless” for remarks in which he said some of the families protesting in Diyarbakır
against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK) for having allegedly “kidnapped” their children were being paid to do so by the intelligence organization.
“It is a very awful thing. There are all kinds of tricks among them; there is lying, slander and everything,” Erdoğan said in a speech delivered on the occasion of a collective opening ceremony.
“They couldn’t take true democracy and true freedom, they couldn’t handle it,” Erdoğan said. “If we are going to have peace prevail in this country, then we will build it based on mutual respect,” he said, in an apparent reference to politicians from the BDP and its sister party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). According to the prime minister, they are not defending peace with deeds, but are only for peace with words.
The issue of “abducted” children has come onto the country’s agenda after more than a dozen families commenced a sit-in protest in front of Diyarbakır
Metropolitan Municipality and the government asked the BDP and the HDP to take action on the issue.
The HDP and the BDP are sincerely working for the good sake of the process with the purpose of securing the permanent return of all youngsters on Kandil Mountain, Demirtaş said June 3.
“But the government should not make things ugly. I absolve some families who have their children in the mountains, but the rest of the families who are in the sit-in protest there are receiving payments from the intelligence organization. They have no children in the mountains. Some children have been kidnapped by some drug gangs,” he said.
Demirtaş, in an interview published in daily Cumhuriyet on June 5, recalled how senior members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have recently given contradicting statements concerning the government’s plans for the future of the peace process.
“They are saying something at the table, and another thing to the microphones. The AKP delegation has been speaking about preparations. But Erdoğan and [Deputy Prime Minister Bülent] Arınç say, ‘There is no such thing,’” Demirtaş was quoted as saying by Cumhuriyet.
“They are poisoning the process by playing to nationalist voters,” he said, suggesting that both the prime minister and other governmental officials were deliberately escalating tension at the cost of harming the peace process because they want to attract voters from the nationalist wing in the run-up to the presidential elections in August in which Erdoğan is widely expected to run.