Turkey’s Kurdish peace bid ‘lost on way to printers’
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu reads the ruling AKP's ‘2023 New Turkey Contract’ to prominent sociologist and political scientist Professor Dr. Şerif Mardin when he visited the latter’s house in Istanbul on April 19.Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has stirred fresh controversy with the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) by revealing that two pages on the Kurdish peace bid were lost while the ruling party’s electoral manifesto was on its way to the printing press.
Analysts were surprised at Davutoğlu’s conspicuous failure to refer to the peace process, which is being led by his own government, in the 100-article “2023 New Turkey Contract,” which he read out to his Justice and Development Party (AKP) members at a party meeting on April 15.
Davutoğlu did not mention the word “Kurdish” even once in the 100 articles, and the same word was used only once in the election manifesto of the AKP.
“While the text [for the election manifesto] was sent to the printing press digitally, some lapses happened and one or two pages slipped out. The manifesto will be printed again after these pages are added,” he told a group of journalists including daily Hürriyet reporter Cansu Çamlıbel on April 19.
The Turkish PM also said the “2023 New Turkey Contract” did not refer to the Kurdish peace bid because “the solution process is something conjunctural. When you solve it, it ends.”
“I wanted a text that would be a historical reference even after 100 years. Right or wrong, the text should have permanence,” he added.
HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş suggested that Davutoğlu’s explanation was an indicator of the way that the government sees the peace bid. “For them, it is just two pages that were lost while going to the printers. That’s all. But for us, it is our reason to live,” Demirtaş said during an April 19 election rally in Istanbul.
HDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder, too, slammed Davutoğlu. “Stop joking, leave humor to Cem Yılmaz; you just can’t do it,” Önder said, referring to the famous Turkish comedian. “This is a bad joke. This is making fun of human honor, dignity and reason.”
Önder also said the “lost pages” were the statement which was announced by the HDP and the government during a joint meeting in Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe palace on Feb. 28 as a 10-article text in which outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan urged the PKK to hold a congress in spring to discuss disarmament in Turkey.
"Those two pages that you dropped are the historic Dolmabahçe declaration. I'm sending them to you today, so that you add the two auspicious pages to your 350-page document for the sake of brotherhood, freedom and peace," he said.
The peace process, aimed at ending the three-decade-long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the PKK, is at a key crossroads as the group signalled that it would not convene a congress before the June 7 general elections.