Demirtaş says HDP is safety valve of peace process

Demirtaş says HDP is safety valve of peace process

Demirtaş says HDP is safety valve of peace process


The fate of the Kurdish peace process depends on the election success of his party in the June 7 parliamentary election, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said, citing his party’s success as a potential facilitator in the laying down of arms by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“With the election result that we will get, we will reveal the faith which will help quiet the guns forever. With this aspect, we will make a move which will facilitate the disarmament of the PKK,” Demirtaş told a group of journalists on April 8.

“The HDP’s election success paves the way for a process that would facilitate the laying down of arms,” Demirtaş said. “To the extent that confidence in politics grows, then reaching peace will be possible and easy for Turkey to the same extent,” Demirtaş said, underlining they didn’t specifically try to channel the PKK to politics while they were drafting their candidate list for the June 7 vote, which they officially submitted on April 7.

“If that was the case, we would openly say this,” he said. “If the PKK lays down arms and gets channeled into democratic politics, this doesn’t necessarily have to happen in parliament,” he said.

The HDP is a key stakeholder in a government-led, though stalled, peace process aimed at ending the three-decade-long conflict between the PKK and Turkey’s security forces.

The HDP’s lists were drafted in line with a democratic vision based on the multicultural, plural, multilingual and multi-faith society living in Turkey, Demirtaş said. “I believe that we have come forward with the most reasonable list,” he said.

The nomination of Dilek Öcalan, the niece of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, on the HDP ticket led to various interpretations, as some commentators said the HDP, by this way, aimed to carry the Öcalan surname to parliament. 

“Dilek Öcalan is also a part of the criteria of pluralism and colorfulness,” Demirtaş said, emphasizing that Dilek Öcalan has a political background within their party, thus indicating her being Abdullah Öcalan’s niece was not her sole feature.

“She is not contrary to Turkey’s reality, she is a part of Turkey’s reality,” he said, citing HDP candidates from among the Alevi, Armenian and Kurdish communities, as well as socialists and women who wear headscarves, as other elements reflecting Turkey’s reality.