Deputy PM hails Kurdish meeting

Deputy PM hails Kurdish meeting

Deputy PM hails Kurdish meeting

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The recent meeting on the Kurdish problem between the prime minister and the main opposition leader has created an opportunity that should not be missed, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay has said.

“We were very happy that the main opposition leader wanted to talk with us on such an important problem,” Atalay said June 8 in an interview with the CNNTürk news channel. “The ruling party and the main opposition party have created a great opportunity by coming together to work on a solution. We should carry on the process well.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu met in an hour-long landmark meeting June 6 at the Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters in Ankara, where the main opposition party introduced a 10-point package foreseeing the establishment of two commissions, inside and outside Parliament, in order to shape a way to solve the Kurdish issue. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), however, rejected the idea.

Atalay said he would like to see the MHP and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in the parliamentary commission. “I wish we had this cooperation under Parliament’s roof, but it looks like this will not be easy,” he said, adding that the AKP had previously called all parties to declare their vision on the issue back in 2009.

The deputy prime minister said the absence of the two other parties should not hinder cooperation.
“The CHP is now considering our prime minister’s offer on continuing with a two-party panel, in the event that the MHP or other parties refuse the offer,” said Atalay.

He noted that there were also new laws on the way to expand rights and freedoms, including the establishment of a board on human rights and the use of mother tongues.

Atalay also said terror was an international problem, adding that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq was at a “crossroads” and must “do something” against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) based in its territory.

“Our demand is obvious, the terrorist organization [PKK] cannot live freely within [KRG] borders,” Atalay said. Turkey has long demanded that the KRG, and its leader Masoud Barzani, act against the PKK militants based in northern Iraq.

Atalay said the ongoing talks between Barzani and the PKK included the laying down and the handing over of arms.