Gov’t using Kurdish process as election tool: HDP

Gov’t using Kurdish process as election tool: HDP

Gov’t using Kurdish process as election tool: HDP

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The co-chair of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has claimed that the government is simply using the process as a tool to score points ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for June 7.

“There is no doubt that arms should be silenced in this country. This is our biggest desire. But here is the point that we don’t agree with the government on: They want to ‘sell’ the peace dream, but we want to present the peace to our peoples,” HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş said on March 3, addressing a parliamentary group meeting of his party.

“We are wondering how this mentality can bring peace to the country,” said Demirtaş, who has recently come under fire from both Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.

Both Davutoğlu and Arınç have suggested that Demirtaş is not as constructive as other HDP executives involved in a recent joint press conference alongside ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials. At the Feb. 28 conference, a call by imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan asking his outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to convene a congress in the spring to decide to end its armed struggle was relayed.

However, Demirtaş directly targeted the government over the declaration.

“Let me repeat: We don’t believe at all that the AKP will bring democracy, freedom and peace to this country. They say that the declaration has been delayed because of me. The declaration was to be announced seven months ago, why didn’t you declare it then? For what reason? Why did you block it for seven months? As the government, answer this question first. You know the reason why: They wanted to announce it close to the elections. But now we are making this declaration with three months left until the elections, so what laws [on the resolution] will parliament discuss?” Demirtaş said.

“We don’t trust the AKP and this drives them crazy … How could we when there is nothing to trust? Which laws have you passed to improve democracy so far? What have you offered to the people of Turkey in the name of peace? This government is incapable of bringing permanent peace to this country. Their mentality won’t allow it. This is why the HDP must grow,” he added.

The ruling AKP is seeking support from Turkey’s estimated 15 million Kurds in the parliamentary elections in June in order to change the constitution and imbue the office of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the party’s founding leader, with more executive powers.

“Resisting such a cruel government is a blessed job, let alone overthrowing it. What matters for the government is not ceasefire, but the pretense of a ceasefire before the elections. Yes, the PKK will lay down arms, but this will be thanks to us. We will enter parliament stronger. We will succeed. We will come down from the mountains through democratic reconciliation,” Demirtaş said, referring to PKK fighters in the mountains of northern Iraq.

Erdoğan has welcomed Öcalan’s call as “very important,” but cautioned that earlier calls made by the Kurdish militants had failed.     

“Of course calls are good, but what is most important is implementation. How much will implementation be reflected on the field ahead of an election? I hope [they] will stand behind these statements,” Erdoğan said at a news conference on Feb. 28.

For its part, the PKK administration echoed Demirtaş in a previous warning, saying: “Using this historic goodwill declaration by our leader as election propaganda would be an example of great injustice and irresponsibility for our people.”