EU minister makes call to silence arms, resume peace process

EU minister makes call to silence arms, resume peace process

Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
EU minister makes call to silence arms, resume peace process

AA photo

European Union Affairs Minister and chief negotiator Ali Haydar Konca has made a call to “silence arms” and said “arms should be buried,” stressing the resolution for the Kurdish peace process should be found through dialogue. 

“It’s vital to get out of a spiral of violence… immediately. Silencing arms and ending violence is the will of all our people,” the minister said, speaking at his first press conference on Aug. 31.

Konca is one of the two ministers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who was named to participate in the interim Turkish government. The minister signaled his priority would be resuming the Kurdish peace process to end three decades of conflict, saying it would also pave the way for Turkey’s membership to the European Union.  

Konca stressed the first agenda of the election government was to carry out concrete policies which would maintain social peace and provide thorough election security.

The EU minister underlined current violence in Turkey also hampered the EU membership of the country and has driven it into clashes in the Middle East.

“Turkey can only get out of the clash environment with democracy and with extending the realm of freedom, instead of armed methods,” the minister said.

Konca stressed that legal amendments for fundamental rights and efforts to change Turkey’s charter, along with judicial reforms, should be priorities for the government. 

Turkey should get back to the peace process, which has been said to be in the refrigerator, as soon as possible, and efforts should be made for constitutional changes that will maintain the democratic rights of all identities and groups in Turkey, first of all Kurds, the minister said.

Paving the way for the peace process immediately will also be a strategic turning point for Turkey to become an EU member, he said.  

No sign on Syria motion 

Elaborating on the extension of a motion which authorized the launch of military incursions into Syria and Iraq for possible operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the minister said his party would not sign any paper that was against the principles and party program of the HDP. 

The minister stressed the interim government was neither a coalition government nor a Justice and Development Party (AKP) government just because a majority of the cabinet members were from the AKP. 

Therefore, the HDP will always pursue its party program, he added. “Our vote will not be in favor of the motion for Syria,” he said.

Konca also said he believed the interests of the people should be prioritized over party interests, adding the government was responsible for maintaining the security of the election ballot boxes, which would reflect the will of the nation at the polls.

No busy EU agenda until progressive report

The EU Ministry’s agenda on Turkey’s relations with the union would not be busy until the Progress Report, the minister said, noting he will have a phone conversation with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini on Aug. 31.

Konca barely remembered the name of the representative he would have the phone conversation with and said he did not have foreign language skills and therefore would have the conversation with the ministry undersecretary. 

The EU minister implemented the principle decision of his party to lift a media accreditation ban on some at the press conference. 

Meanwhile, in his first press conference after his appointment, Development Minister Müslüm Doğan conveyed important political messages.  Underlining that a period of armed conflict has begun in the country, he said, “We believe that conditions for peace should be provided in order to not lose even one of our citizens. We believe the language of war should be changed,” he said on Aug. 31.