SPD looking forward to seeing Kurdish issue solved
Sigmar Gabriel, chairman of the Social Democrat Party of Germany, (L) shakes hands with main opposition party CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZAlthough it is hard for them to understand why the Turkish government must negotiate with the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) instead of parliamentarians, the head of the German social democrats has said that they would be very happy if a democratic solution to Turkey’s decades-old Kurdish issue can be reached with the recent peace process.
“The rest of the world, especially Europe, would be very happy if it is possible to come to a democratic solution for the Kurdish people and to stop violence and to stop fighting with arms. That would be a great success of Turkish policy,” Sigmar Gabriel, chairman of the Social Democrat Party of Germany (SPD), told reporters at a press conference in Ankara on March 1.
Gabriel paid a three-day visit to Turkey, during which he visited a Syrian refugee camp in the southern province of Kilis and met with German soldiers in Kahramanmaraş, where one of the Patriot missiles was recently deployed. He also met with President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) executives.
Peace process discussed
Gabriel said that they discussed the recently launched peace process in Turkey with the BDP executives. “For us, Europeans, it’s difficult to understand why government has to negotiate with somebody who is in prison but not with the BDP as the party in Parliament. And the [BDP’s] answer was ‘Mr. Öcalan is the leader of the Kurdish people still today.’ And they asked for understanding for the PKK,” Gabriel said. The SPD leader said that he asked BDP executives whether there would be a link between the recent peace process and the new Constitution-making process, but the BDP did not answer that question.
While commenting on Turkey’s accession process to the EU, Gabriel said that opening negotiation chapters related to the judiciary and human rights would better help Turkey’s democratization process. Voicing full support to Turkey’s accession to the EU, Gabriel said that the Union has to have a reform process itself in order to be more transparent and democratic. “It’s not only an obligation and responsibility to change Turkey to be ready for membership in the Union. It’s also a responsibility of the Union to reform itself to be able to enlarge the Union with a new partner. Not only with Turkey, maybe with others too,” he said. “Turkey should be a part of Europe in the future.” Gabriel reiterated their willingness to allow dual citizenship for Turks living in Germany. Gabriel said they will be adopting a bill to allow dual citizenship for Turks in Germany after coming to power in September. He also said they “support the reform process within the CHP that Kılıçdaroğlu launched.”