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POLITICS > Talks possible if BDP shrugs off PKK yoke: Turkish PM

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Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan says the government may have a dialogue with the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) if BDP demonstrates its own will. AFP photo

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan says the government may have a dialogue with the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) if BDP demonstrates its own will. AFP photo

The government could hold talks on the Kurdish issue with the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), if the party demonstrates it is capable of making decisions on its own, free from the influence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday.

“We will never sit at the negotiating table with the [PKK] terrorist organization. I’ve said before that we will fight the terrorist organization and talk to its political extension, but only if it [the BDP] demonstrates it has its own will and can make decisions. If they cannot do that, we have no time to waste,” Erdoğan told a gathering of provincial officials from his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

His remarks followed a speech by BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş the day before, in which he said his party was ready for talks to lay the ground for a negotiated settlement to the Kurdish conflict. The BDP has rejected the “extension” label and said it cannot negotiate on behalf of the PKK.

Addressing Demirtaş and the other BDP co-chair, Gültan Kışanak, Erdoğan said the government would consider talking to politicians “who have distanced themselves from the terrorist organization and do not take orders from it.” Ankara is looking for “politicians who can stand on their feet and who are not trying to sow seeds of dissent among the people and divide them,” he added.

Erdoğan said he would announce today financial incentives aimed at boosting investment in the southeast. “Besides security measures, we will wrap up the process while also moving the economy and democracy forward. Fraternity will defeat dissension,” he said.

Massacre case
In further remarks, Erdoğan accused the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) of exaggerating the marking of homes in Adıyaman and distorting the outcome of the trial in the case of the 1993 torching of the Madımak hotel in a bid to provoke the Alevi community. “We won’t let this happen. Alevi citizens should not worry,” he said, pledging that the authorities will find those who marked the Alevi homes in Adıyaman.

Erdoğan praised the adoption of the controversial education bill that would introduce Quranic studies as an elective in schools, saying that it amounted to “the restoration of a respect for learning and teaching” the holy book of Islam. “I hope our grateful nation will forever remember and appreciate this legislation,” he said, comparing the significance of the bill to the restoration of the Arabic call for prayer in 1950.

April/05/2012

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