Erdoğan was only partly briefed about peace process, claims HDP co-chair

Erdoğan was only partly briefed about peace process, claims HDP co-chair

Erdoğan was only partly briefed about peace process, claims HDP co-chair

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Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş has claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was “only partially briefed” about the Kurdish peace process while it was still ongoing, with government officials reporting details to him “only in a way that he would enjoy.”

Demirtaş was asked on Dec. 7 about recent remarks he delivered in a meeting in the U.S., where he suggested that Erdoğan was not given accurate knowledge of contacts between state officials and Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“I believe his own team didn’t inform him in a very comprehensive way. We participated in the meetings in İmralı personally, that was our advantage. We had a full command of the issue with all its details. But the issue was conveyed to him inadequately, only in such a way that he would enjoy,” he said.

Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence in İmralı Island prison, played a central role in the government-led peace process aimed at ending the three-decade long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and PKK militants since at least late 2012. Öcalan had been in dialogue with state officials, the HDP, and its predecessor the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

Violence between Turkish security forces and PKK militants reignited this summer after a suicide bombing attack against socialist activists in the border town of Suruç killed 34 people, shattering the fragile peace process after a two-and-a-half-year de facto period of non-conflict. The bombing was blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but the PKK and many in the Turkish opposition blamed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for creating the conditions that could facilitate the attack.

Demirtaş also claimed that Erdoğan had known the full details of the negotiations, he may have ended the peace process earlier.

“It shouldn’t be understood as if he [Erdoğan] knew nothing at all. Maybe he didn’t know the details and they created a certain expectation of the process in his mind. I don’t know whether his stance would have been different if things were different. But considering his frame of mind and his perspective of democracy, the Kurdish issue and the solution process, he might have ended the process earlier [if he had known more],” the HDP co-chair said. 

“What he understands from the resolution of the Kurdish issue is only about the PKK laying down arms. He doesn’t understand anything else. He has no project in his mind about the Kurds’ rights or Turkey’s democratic problems. His team must have not conveyed the details of discussions we had in İmralı and in Ankara, because he started saying ‘What negotiations?’ Regarding the 10 fundamental principles in the Dolmabahçe agreement, he started saying ‘Where did this come from?’ But all those discussion processes were constituted upon our contribution and within our knowledge,” Demirtaş also added, referring to a Feb. 28, 2014 agreement between AKP and HDP officials dubbed the “Dolmabahçe Agreement.” The document outlined a 10-item list of priorities for a resolution of the Kurdish issue.