Security draft will help Kurdish peace, says Turkish PM Davutoğlu
AA PhotoAccording to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, the controversial domestic security bill, opposed by both of the two main stakeholders of the peace process - the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Kurdistan Communities’ Union (KCK), a supra-organization that includes the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – is actually a measure which will facilitate progress in the peace bid.
“The protection of freedoms and domestic security reform is a measure will pave the way for the resolution process. On the one side, we will say public order, on the other side we will continue defending the laying down of arms and democratic politics,” Davutoğlu said on March 2.
Nevertheless, senior executives of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have left the door open to amendments of the bill that would be initiated by the opposition parties, while ruling out withdrawing the 132-article bill from the General Assembly floor to commission-level debates.
“If there are reservations from the [Nationalist Movement Party] MHP, the [main opposition Republican People’s Party] CHP, and the HDP concerning the homeland security package, then we are ready to sit and talk about articles in a concrete way. We would negotiate them,” AKP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mahir Ünal told state-run Anadolu Agency on March 2.
“We would correct these [articles] through ways including renegotiation,” Ünal added.
However, fellow AKP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Mustafa Elitaş argued that they have not yet seen any “reconciling manner” from the opposition parties, particularly citing the name of the HDP.
The withdrawal of the package back to Parliament’s Internal Affairs Commission is out of the question, Elitaş told Anadolu Agency on March 2.
“It is not possible to withdraw the 33 articles that have already been approved by the General Assembly to the commission anyway. Look at the motions filed by the opposition, then you will understand whether they can be taken seriously or not,” he said, while also echoing Ünal by saying: “If the MHP, the CHP and the HDP put forward a serious motion, then we would look into it and assess it.”
‘Against the Oct 6-7 atmosphere’
The ruling AKP’s weekly parliamentary group meeting was held on March 2, Monday instead of Tuesday, which is the usual day of parliamentary group meetings, because Davutoğlu was set to depart for consecutive visits to Portugal and the United States. Davutoğlu used the occasion to focus on both the peace process and the homeland security draft, combining the two issues.
“An extremely important statement within the context of the resolution process came,” Davutoğlu said, without directly referring to the statement issued over the weekend but apparently referring to jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan’s Feb. 28 call to his followers to hold a disarmament congress.
Öcalan, who still exerts influence over the PKK from his prison cell, on Feb. 28 called on followers to meet in the spring and agree to lay down their arms.
Giving a retrospective look at the state of affairs surrounding the peace process, Davutoğlu recalled the Oct. 6-7, 2014 street demonstrations by Kurdish citizens angered by Ankara’s perceived inaction toward Syrian Kurds besieged by jihadists in the Syrian border town of Kobane.
“The Oct. 6-7 incidents were a provocation initiated just as a new hope emerged. The protection of freedoms and the domestic security reform, which is currently on parliament’s agenda, is a measure taken against the atmosphere of the Oct. 6-7 incidents. It is a measure that will pave the way for the resolution process,” he said.
The prime minister suggested that when adopted, the security law would prevent “sabotages” through street violence against “a peace and fraternity project-like resolution process.”
CHP not happy
Meanwhile, at a press conference held at parliament on March 2, CHP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Akif Hamzaçebi sounded a bitter note about what he described as the “exclusion” of both his party and the MHP from consultations between the AKP and the HDP over the content of the security bill.
“As far as it is understood, the security package was also discussed at the [prime ministry] working office at Dolmabahçe Palace,” Hamzaçebi said, when reminded of remarks delivered by HDP Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Pervin Buldan on March 1 after the Feb. 28 joint press conference with the government.
After the HDP group announced the call by Öcalan following the meeting at Dolmabahçe Palace on Feb. 28, Buldan touched on the security bill on March 1 in Diyarbakır, stating that changes would be made to it.
“Some amendments will be made to the internal security package. There are some articles we particularly oppose. We are preparing proposals about these and we will submit these proposals to the AKP,” Buldan said.
Hamzaçebi expressed regret that “democratization was being linked to İmralı,” referring to the island prison in the Marmara Sea, where Öcalan is serving a life-sentence.
“Opinions put forward by us, as the CHP, or by the MHP, are not accepted by the government, but they are accepted if they are put forward by İmralı. There is an understanding that links Turkey’s democratization to İmralı,” he said.