Avoid propaganda in Kurdish peace bid: Turkish President
Turkish President Abdullah Gül. AA PhotoPresident Abdullah Gül has called on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to show good faith toward the resolution process, warning the organization not to turn the prospective release of kidnapped public servants and soldiers into a propaganda show.
“It’s obvious that there are sincere efforts and intentions [on our side]. Now the other side should show sincerity too, by laying down arms, by not turning this process into an exercise in propaganda, and by not manipulating the events of the process; these are points that should be taken into consideration. All of these points will be testing factors of the other side’s sincerity,” Gül told reporters yesterday when asked to comment on fears that the release of the public servants and soldiers. The president held a brief press conference before his departure to Sweden where he spoke about the release expected to take place this week, which some have feared may turn into a self-promoting performance by the outlawed party.
“We are closely following [the developments] on the alert. We have many experiences from the past until today. We always keep our experiences in mind,” Gül said, in a veiled reference to the Habur incident of 2009, during which a process launched by the government to accept eight PKK members and 28 Kurdish refugees from the Makhmour Camp in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq was disrupted by a festive welcome at the Habur border gate.
The incident was perceived as “a show of force” by the government and sparked public outcry throughout the rest of Turkey, eventually causing the peace initiative at that time to come to a halt.
The government’s recently launched talks with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, to convince PKK militants to lay down their arms and withdraw from Turkey, are well-intentioned and sincere endeavors to put an end to the terror which is Turkey’s biggest problem, Gül said.
“A substantial majority of our people support these endeavors. We hope these endeavors will come to a conclusion that will not weaken the national unity and integrity as well as its unitary structure. We hope a resolution will be reached,” Gül said.
‘Democratic Constitution’ needed
When asked to comment on the work of Parliament’s charter panel, Gül said the panel had made considerable progress up till now. “I hope there can be a consensus. What is important here is that Turkey should have a constitution that includes all the characteristics of developed democracies,” Gül said.
The president also commented on criticism from the opposition that the fourth judicial package, which was recently submitted to Parliament, does not contain any amendment to resolve chronic problems plaguing the judiciary such as lengthy detention periods.
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, for his part, said that the issues of general amnesty and house-arrest for Öcalan are being upheld by those who want the resolution process to fail.
“There’s nothing related to an amnesty on our government’s agenda,” Bozdağ said.