Gov’t, HDP shouldn’t be in the same picture, says Turkish president

Gov’t, HDP shouldn’t be in the same picture, says Turkish president

Gov’t, HDP shouldn’t be in the same picture, says Turkish president President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he did not approve of a meeting and joint press conference between the government and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) at Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace on Feb. 28, which was presented as a turning point in the Kurdish peace process.

“I personally do not find it right that the government’s deputy prime minister and a group that is currently in parliament took a picture side by side,” said Erdoğan.

During the meeting, it emerged that the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, had called for the outlawed group to hold a congress in spring to discuss disarmament in Turkey.

Erdoğan said that previously in such cases, a member of the government would hold meetings with the HDP and then a statement would be announced, noting that never before had two different statements been read together before the press.

The president also said a 10-article statement from Öcalan that was read out during Nevruz in Diyarbakır on March 21 did not contain a call for democracy.

“If we look into the text, one can see that most of the topics there do not have anything to do with democracy. There are still new demands arising,” said Erdoğan.

During the Feb. 28 joint press conference, the HDP’s Sırrı Süreyya Önder read a list of 10 articles, where Öcalan’s priorities were summarized. These articles included the definition and content of democratic politics, the definition of the national and local dimensions of a democratic solution, the legal and democratic guarantees of free citizenship, relations between state and society, how these issues will be institutionalized, as well as the socio-economic dimensions of the resolution process.

Handling democracy-security ties during the resolution process in a manner that will sustain both public order and freedoms, legal solutions and guarantees for policies on women, culture and ecology, developing a pluralist democracy to define the concept of identity, defining the concepts of a democratic republic, a common homeland and a nation with democratic criteria, granting these items a legal and constitutional guarantee within a pluralist democratic system, as well as writing a new constitution that aims to internalize all democratic action and transformations, were the rest of the articles summarized by Önder.

The government took its own decision to stage the joint press conference, Erdoğan said, adding that while he wished them “good luck,” he had the right to express his discomfort with the situation.

Commenting on the relations between the government and the presidency, Erdoğan said he and the government did not consult each other on every topic.

“The thing you have mentioned [constant consulting between the government and presidency], could be achieved with the presidential system,” said Erdoğan.

Erdoğan has consistently demanded that Turkey switch to a presidential system that would give him nearly unlimited powers.