Ankara to take fresh Kurdish issue steps

Ankara to take fresh Kurdish issue steps

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ankara to take fresh Kurdish issue steps

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accuses the three parliamentary opposition parties of hampering efforts to resolve the Kurdish question and adds that the peace drive had been further undermined by ‘dark circles’ at home and abroad. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkey will find a solution to the Kurdish conflict regardless of the cost, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday as Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay promised fresh democratization steps.
“Whatever the price, we will resolve this issue with the blessing of God and the support of the people – we will continue to struggle for that until our last breath,” Erdoğan said. “This is a human matter before everything else. No one can harm our fraternity. We are brothers in faith.”

Erdoğan made the remarks at a meeting of his party’s provincial chairmen yesterday on the eve of a visit to the southeastern province of Mardin and a day after his wife, Emine Erdoğan, and Atalay visited the families of 34 civilians who were killed in a botched air raid in the southeastern province of Şırnak’s Uludere district in December 2011.

Erdoğan described the constitutional referendum of September 2010 and the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) third election victory last year as “two consecutive approvals by the nation” for the reconciliation drive.

The government has been criticized for having stopped the so-called Kurdish initiative or the “national unity and fraternity project” in favor of a security-oriented approach that risks producing fresh violence from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Atalay, who was tasked with leading the reconciliation project, said the government was determined to realize greater democratization.

“Our efforts have not stalled. There will be new steps,” he said, adding that government officials would step up visits to the southeast.

The deputy prime minister said state institutions were conducting “the most advanced coordination” in the struggle against the PKK. The issue came under scrutiny last month when police operations against alleged urban networks of the PKK resulted in a prosecutor’s attempt to investigate the head of the intelligence agency on suspicions that its operatives had collaborated with the PKK.

Erdoğan accused the three parliamentary opposition parties of hampering efforts to resolve the Kurdish question and added that the peace drive had been further undermined by “dark circles” at home and abroad who collude with the PKK to advance their interests.

“We are confronted not only by an armed terrorist organization. We are confronted by an organization which acts as a subcontractor for Turkey’s enemies. We are fighting not only the terrorists in the mountains, but also the dirty hands behind the curtain which are pulling the strings,” he said.

Erdoğan appealed to Kurdish voters to withhold support for the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), arguing that it was sabotaging the peace process and failing to deliver proper municipal services.
In further remarks yesterday, Erdoğan again slammed criticism over the imprisonment of journalists, saying only six of the 105 people listed as jailed journalists held yellow press cards. Most on the list have been charged for alleged links to the PKK and outlawed far-left groups, he said.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.