CHP to gov’t: Impose EU local autonomy code

CHP to gov’t: Impose EU local autonomy code

ANKARA – Doğan News Agency
CHP to gov’t: Impose EU local autonomy code

AA photo

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has called on the government to implement the local autonomy criteria outlined in the Council of Europe charter, to which Turkey is a signatory, amid a push for autonomy in Southeast Anatolia.

“We refer to the criterion on autonomy in local governance, which was signed by Turkey during the term of late [Prime Minister Bülent] Ecevit. It was approved by the parliament. Now that law has to be implemented,” Kılıçdaroğlu told NTV news channel on Jan. 7.

“We agree with the local government autonomy condition [in the charter]. We say it should be implemented. We have no hesitation in this sense,” said the CHP leader.

The European Charter of Local Self-Government was signed by Turkey in 1991.

But Kılıçdaroğlu said the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was seeking regional autonomy in contrast to the autonomy referred to by the CHP. 

“They [the HDP] want self-defense. But we are against this. The state already has its armed forces. When one refers to autonomy, it is understood as a division of the country. We do not approve of regional autonomies. We do not find it right for more than one city to come together,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

The CHP leader’s remarks came over a debate on the autonomy. The HDP, which is focused on the Kurdish issue, is planning to hold rallies in favor of autonomy and self-rule before the end of January, at a time when one of its co-chairs is being investigated over his call for greater Kurdish self-governance.

At the convention held in late December 2015, the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an umbrella group of Kurdish and democratic organizations that includes the HDP, released a declaration calling for self-rule in Turkey’s southeast, escalating political tensions at a time of renewed clashes between the security forces and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants. 

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş was one of the participants in a two-day congress of Kurdish groups that called for more self-governance, during which he said “there will be a Kurdistan in the next century and it could include an independent state.” A prosecutor opened an investigation into Demirtaş on Dec. 28, 2015, over his call, while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also said last weekend that he supported criminal probes into the HDP’s leaders over their comments about self-rule.