Gov’t to form monitoring committee for Kurdish peace process

Gov’t to form monitoring committee for Kurdish peace process

Gov’t to form monitoring committee for Kurdish peace process

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The government has decided to establish a monitoring committee of five to six persons to oversee the implementation of the Kurdish peace process, a senior government official has said, noting that the final decision on its composition and mandate will be given next week by the prime minister.

“This is an issue we are working on. We are working on a committee composed of just five or six persons. Some names have already been decided,” Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan said in an interview with the Anadolu Agency on March 18.

Last week Akdoğan categorically denied remarks by a high-level Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) official who said a monitoring committee composed of 15 or 16 persons would be established.

Noting that when the HDP official talked to the media, no decision had yet been taken on the establishment of the monitoring committee, Akdoğan said: “The state is implementing everything it talks about. It’s not indecisive. But we have no time to deal with the lies [of HDP officials].”

The statement was a response to HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş’s accusations that the government’s public statements and promises given during closed meetings were different.

The establishment of a monitoring committee is among the HDP’s demands for the continuation of the Kurdish peace process, which aims to end the decades-old problem in Turkey.

Nevruz an important phase

Akdoğan reiterated that March 21, Nevruz, would have significant importance for the Kurdish peace process as the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, is expected to deliver a strong message to militants to end the armed conflict by laying down their weapons. Öcalan will likely call the PKK to hold a general congress in the coming months to discuss his call for the permanent disarmament of the PKK.

“The upcoming months are very crucial. I think Nevruz will make the process gain momentum,” said Akdoğan, expressing his hope that the PKK would hold its congress soon after Öcalan’s call March 21.

However, there will be some foreign powers and countries who try to sabotage Turkey’s peace process, Akdoğan said, without naming the countries. “The first one is the role of regional countries who directly want to sabotage the process,” Akdoğan said, adding that such countries had never been successful in their efforts. The second one is the influence of some countries who wish to see the PKK have a role in the regional equation.

HDP cannot pass 10 percent

The deputy prime minister also shared his expectations from the upcoming parliamentary elections. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is set to maintain its vote base of 45 to 50 percent, while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will lose some votes, Akdoğan said.

Akdoğan said the HDP would fall below the 10 percent threshold. “I don’t see this [the HDP’s failure to enter Parliament] as a source of great concern or fear. Perhaps it will be an opportunity.”