Freed MP’s remarks on peace show rift in party

Freed MP’s remarks on peace show rift in party

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Freed MP’s remarks on peace show rift in party

DHA photo

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün’s moderate language regarding outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants has caused controversy within his party. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has requested that Aygün return to Ankara immediately.

Aygün’s remarks were his personal opinions and did not reflect the party’s views, CHP deputy chair Faruk Loğoğlu said. Aygün is expected to testify to the prosecutor about his kidnapping by the PKK today in Tunceli, and will fly to Ankara in the afternoon.

Aygün was released by PKK militants on Aug. 14 after a 48-hour-long abduction. Speaking to reporters in Tunceli after his release, Aygün said he had been “treated with respect” by the PKK members. “The organization said they kidnapped me for propaganda reasons,” he said. “The young fellows who undertook this [kidnapping] are children of this country too, and they said they wanted to send a message of peace and a call for a cease-fire with this action.”

The PKK members asked the lawmaker to take a more active role in attempting to find a solution to the Kurdish issue and the establishment of a cease-fire, Aygün said. “They said they perceived the CHP’s policies on solving the Kurdish issue in a positive light but said all parties had to make an effort to solve the problem.”

The PKK members “are aware” that the struggle they are waging is “meaningless,” Aygün said, adding that the militants said their demands for democratic autonomy were a democratic request that did not require using arms and was practiced in many European countries. The militants also told Aygün they would be “glad” if he chose to pursue politics as an independent deputy. “I told them no decision can be made on this matter at the barrel of a gun,” he said. “I told them I was proud to be the Dersim [Tunceli] deputy of the new CHP and said the new CHP had given signals of a transformation by accepting other figures, such as myself, into the party.”

Metin Feyzioğlu, head of the Ankara Bar Association and a CHP party assembly member, criticized Aygün’s remarks, criticizing him for “approaching a terror organization with sympathy.”

“No one should describe the separatist terrorist organization, which uses cruel, violent methods, as fellow freedom-fighters,” Feyzioğlu said in a written statement.

Some CHP deputies are also reportedly annoyed about Aygün’s remarks, and Kılıçdaroğlu has requested that Aygün return to Ankara because of these complaints, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

Aygün told reporters he would stay in Tunceli and continue his visits around the region yesterday morning, but changed his plans after talking with Kılıçdaroğlu.

Aygün’s statements may be perceived as controversial, but Aygün had made a call for peace, CHP party spokesperson Haluk Koç said, speaking to the Daily News.

“There’s a call [for peace] in Aygün’s remarks. He made a call for Turkey and for the PKK. ‘I wish those young people had gone to university instead of going to the mountain [to join the PKK],’ Aygün said. His previous statements about the PKK have also been very clear. Aygün had said that the PKK would not achieve results with arms, violence and bloodshed. Aygün’s remarks will be interpreted differently, but the CHP’s attitude toward terrorism and the terrorist organization is loud and clear,” Koç said.