BDP free to advocate break-up: AKP official

BDP free to advocate break-up: AKP official

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
BDP free to advocate break-up: AKP official

Hüseyin Çelik (C), deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), says even the most extreme of ideas may be discussed under Parliament’s roof. AA photo

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is free to advocate Kurdish secession from Turkey or any other “extreme ideas” in Parliament as long as it does not uphold violence and terrorism, a senior ruling party official said yesterday.

“The BDP can take up Abdullah Öcalan’s views in Parliament. It can speak about Turkey’s division or about a federal system or autonomy. When you do that in a democratic environment in Parliament, without doing politics in the shadow of arms, it is freedom of thought,” Hüseyin Çelik, deputy chairman of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), told reporters.

“But if you sanctify terrorists, if you consider them heroes, then it’s a different affair. The most extreme of ideas may be discussed, but if you see terrorism as a means, then you commit a crime,” he said.
Çelik said the AKP was against the BDP’s closure and only party members who break the law should be penalized. He said it was now a known fact the BDP acted on instructions from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara and most of the international community list as a terrorist group.

Referring to harsh exchanges between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and BDP leaders over a botched air raid that killed 35 civilians last week, Çelik said he was against the escalation of tensions but blamed the BDP for undermining dialogue.

“We cannot turn our left cheek if we are slapped on the right one. We have extended a friendly hand to everybody, but we cannot shake a hand squeezed into a fist,” he said.

The AKP, Çelik said, is determined to continue democratic reforms to improve Kurdish rights while maintaining the armed struggle against the PKK. A recent parliamentary speech by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç “should not be underestimated as his words were not uttered casually,” he said. Arınç had said the Kurds would be granted as many rights as Turks enjoy in the country.

BDP in parliamentary protest

In a related development, BDP lawmakers held a sit-in protest at Parliament until early yesterday morning, furious over the killing of 35 civilians and what it saw as the government’s failure to respond adequately.

Party Chairman Selahattin Demirtaş said Erdoğan’s parliamentary speech the day before in which the prime minister vented anger on the BDP was “the reflection of a mentality that could cause massive disasters in Turkey.” 

Demirtaş criticized “the continued isolation” of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan at the prison island of İmralı and said “insisting on isolation is equivalent to insisting on conflict and tension.”