Çiçek urges empathy with BDP lawmakers

Çiçek urges empathy with BDP lawmakers

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Çiçek urges empathy with BDP lawmakers

‘There is a need to thoroughly assess and understand the conditions of the deputies in the BDP,’ Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek says. AA photo

The constituencies that elect many Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies are also areas of support for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek has indicated, underlining the need to understand the conditions under which BDP deputies work.

“The BDP is a party which always encounters the terror issue and which has, in a way, a close relationship with those circles. There may be [BDP members] who have personal relationships. They are deputies who are mostly elected from the terror region,” Çiçek was quoted as saying, noting that southeastern Anatolia, along with northern Iraq, is the scene of clashes between security forces and the PKK. “It is a normal situation then that they are involved in the political dimension [of the issue].”

Çiçek’s comments were published in daily Hürriyet yesterday but were made late Oct. 23 as the speaker prepared to depart for Mecca for the hajj. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has frequently called on the BDP to clearly denounce the PKK’s illegal activities. Çiçek’s interview with Hürriyet was apparently mainly based on a meeting between him and a BDP delegation which took place earlier this month.

In addition to Çiçek, the BDP delegation met with President Abdullah Gül and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group executives.

When the meetings were revealed on Oct. 18, the BDP said an escalation of tension in the country, the continuing of clashes, as well as statements from Erdoğan that effectively noted the government’s willingness to resume talks with the PKK were among the reasons it sought an appointment with Gül, Çiçek and AKP parliamentary group executives. The party highlighted at the time that all meetings took place upon the request of the BDP.

BDP not excluded
“We talked [with the BDP delegation] within this framework; normally, the Parliament is the place where politicians will talk about these affairs. I’m not the addressee of claims such as, ‘the BDP is being excluded from this process,’” Çiçek said, adding that he could not act “by ignoring a party in the Parliament.”

“However, there is a need to thoroughly assess and understand the conditions of the deputies in the BDP. We haven’t made a decision to meet periodically, but we will meet again if needed,” he said.

Reminded yesterday about Çiçek’s remarks on “ignoring the BDP,” Erdoğan said the comments were “natural” for a parliamentary speaker but added that, as a political party, the AKP’s view would be different.

“There are a lot of issues on which political parties cannot agree, or sometimes on which they agree. That’s to say, there is no obligation for agreeing on every issue,” Erdoğan said, arguing that the government wanted a strong opposition for the sake of democracy.