Turkish PM is open to meeting with deputy Zana
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Erdoğan leaves door open on meeting with leading Kurdish politician Zana. AA photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he could meet with independent Kurdish deputy Leyla Zana if she applies for an appointment and urged Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers to follow the path opened by Zana, who called for an end to armed conflict in the country.
“If only the BDP would forget about weapons and terror organization and continue its political struggle at the Parliament, this is my wish [in light of] Zana’s statements,” Erdoğan told reporters early Sunday before his departure to Mexico.
In an interview with daily Hürriyet, Zana called on the PKK to cease armed conflict and for the BDP to lead political talks with Erdoğan, whom she believes can solve the Kurdish issue.
“There is no demand from Zana to meet me. I would not hesitate to meet a lawmaker if this demand is made,” said Erdoğan, who has rarely met with Kurdish lawmakers due their alleged resistance in denouncing the PKK and terrorism.
Zana has turned into the iconic figure of the Kurdish political movement after spending ten years in jail for taking her parliamentary oath in Kurdish in the early 1990s. She was elected to Parliament again as an independent lawmaker in last year’s election from Diyarbakır.
Her statements, described by many as historic, received support from all parties except for the BDP, who accused her of falling into Erdoğan’s trap. BDP co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş recalled massive arrests against BDP local officials in the entire country and said the government’s power will not be enough to divide the BDP.
Demirtaş softened his remarks against Zana on Saturday and said the Kurdish political movement will never leave Zana alone in the middle of “greedy wolves.” Demirtaş did also underline that the priority is the demands of the Kurdish people at a party rally in Van. “We’ll do whatever we have promised to you before elections. We are your representatives [at the Parliament]. It’s you who are the primary and the powerful. Not any of our mayors, party officials or lawmakers could be superior to the will of our people,” he said in obvious reference to Zana’s words.
PKK has to lay arms down
Criticizing BDP lawmakers for behaving differently inside and outside the General Assembly, Erdoğan recalled that the problem could be solved perfectly in a sincere environment.
“What I say as the prime minister, as the head of the AK Parti is that the separatist terror organization should lay its arms down. State’s security forces will not cease operations if they do not drop weapons,” he stressed.
Erdoğan expressed his wish that BDP lawmakers and their electorate will also understand this and the process of solving the Kurdish issue would successfully be concluded.