Turkish President Gül issues warning on Kurdish peace bid
Enis BERBEROĞLU COPENHAGEN / Hürriyet
Turkish President of Turkey Abdullah Gül during a press meeting in Copenhagen on March 18. AP photoJust days before Nevruz, the spring festival with particular political importance for Kurds, Turkey’s president has warned both the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) against moves that could cast a shadow over an ongoing peace process.
“We have been hearing remarks which include threats that bring armed struggle to mind. These will not bring any good to anybody. Everybody should be careful for the sake of the peace process,” President Abdullah Gül told a small group of journalists yesterday, the last day of a three-day official visit to
“Turkey’s most important matter is the resolution process. No wrongdoing should be made in regards to the Kurdish issue. Problems would be resolved within Turkey’s unity and integrity and through higher standards of democracy,” Gül said, referring to the currently stalled peace process aimed at ending the three-decade-long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and the PKK in order to hopefully pave the way for the resolution of the century-old Kurdish issue.
The process is also dubbed the resolution process and refers to a government-led initiative that involves both jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and the BDP, which shares the same grassroots as the PKK.
“Yes, they should not exploit situations that stem from the region. What is taking place in Syria and Iraq should not be considered as an opportunity,” Gül said when asked whether his warning was to those who spoke of an armed fight.
“Problems should be resolved along the process in Turkey which is based on democratic and equal citizenship. In an environment where there is no conflict, problems are being resolved one by one. For example, there were very significant steps taken in the package which went into force last week,” said the president, referring to a set of reforms aimed at strengthening fundamental rights and freedoms, led by the government and dubbed the “democratization package.” The package went into force after Gül’s approval.
“[The measures include the] lifting of bans on former Kurdish names for settlement places and the right to conduct political campaigning in the language with which one best expresses itself,” he said, in an apparent reference to the use of citizens’ mother tongues. “But when the environment of perception is in a bad condition, then it is good-for-nothing.”