Democratization push will go forward 'even if PKK returns to arms,' AKP spokesperson says

Democratization push will go forward 'even if PKK returns to arms,' AKP spokesperson says

ANKARA - Hürriyet
Democratization push will go forward even if PKK returns to arms, AKP spokesperson says

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik speaks to reporters during a press conference on Sept. 24. AA photo

The government's democratization push will go ahead no matter what happens and even the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) returns to armed conflict, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Hüseyin Çelik said.

In a press conference on Sept. 24, Çelik spoke of a "necessity for cultural rights" of citizens, in an attempt to underscore that a much-anticipated democratization package, which will be announced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sept. 30, is not a result of negotiations with the PKK. 

Çelik particularly criticized Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, who has repeatedly attacked the government for preparing the reforms in close contact with İmralı island, referring to where PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is serving a life sentence, and the PKK's military leadership in Kandil.

"Of course, we don't want such a thing to happen, but even if the PKK takes up arms once again, even if it returns to terrorism or perpetrates a massacre, whatever it does we don't see the PKK as a counterpart to giving our citizens their cultural rights. We don't have any intention of leaving people to the mercy of the PKK when it comes to their reasonable and legitimate rights," he said.

Çelik emphasized that he hoped the package would help to give momentum back to the Kurdish peace process.

"Statements saying that [the package] was made on the demands of İmrali are slander," he said, vowing that the government will continue reforms.

"I want you to know that we prepared this package with entirely democratic methods. [It will contain what we] promised our voters ahead of the elections. There won't be anything that people haven't heard before ... This democratization package is what Turkey needs," he said.

AKP has more than 50 percent in latest poll

Çelik also shared the result of the AKP's latest survey, which showed the ruling party leading with 50.6 of voting intentions. Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) came second with 24.1 percent and the MHP third with 14.3, according to the numbers made public by the AKP spokesman.

"The CHP is not increasing [its votes]," Çelik said, in response to recent suggestions that the opposition was gaining ground on the AKP, particularly following the Gezi events. 

He ironically referred to a recent research showing CHP as the "steadiest" party in Turkey. "The CHP has other areas where it is very steady. For example, not being able to govern for 63 years, and being for status-quo since it was founded. We have to give it its due for this. Refusing to change and accepting this as an accomplishment is something that the CHP has been very steady about," Çelik said.

Prime Minister Erdoğan had said over the week-end that he would announce the democratization package "on the last day of the month."