HDP calls on both PKK and gov’t to 'silence arms'

HDP calls on both PKK and gov’t to 'silence arms'

HDP calls on both PKK and gov’t to silence arms

CİHAN photo

Selahattin Demirtaş, co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has called on both the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the government to reach a cease-fire while accusing an adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of leading a plan to close down his party.

“The PKK has to immediately silence their arms and remove their hands from the trigger. In this respect, the government has to state that the operations have halted and that they will open the way for dialogue to prevent deaths,” Demirtaş told reporters before a meeting of the party’s provincial heads in Ankara on Aug. 2. 

“We have discussed all developments and measures we can take to prevent clashes and war. We discussed how to bring peace to the country and what our party can do to solve these problems,” said Demirtaş, referring to details about their party’s meeting.

“Some might disturb my statements, so I want to clarify them. I do not call on the state to lay down arms. Could a state lay down arms? A state cannot be without arms. The state should protect itself. But removing your hand from the trigger is something else. What I say here is a reciprocal cease-fire situation. This call is also for the PKK in an immediate way,” he said.

His statements came a day after he said there were attempts to close down the HDP.

“From what I’ve heard, [Burhan] Kuzu, who has been appointed as an adviser to the president, is planning to close the party … If possible before the end of this year, so as to ensure the party is not an obstacle for the [Justice and Development Party] AKP,” Demirtaş told reporters in Ankara on Aug. 1.

Kuzu, a professor of constitutional law and a strong backer of the presidential system, is among the AKP lawmakers who were not nominated for a fourth term in parliament. He was earlier this week appointed as an adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

Parliament must strip the immunity from prosecution of HDP lawmakers and make them “pay the price” for links to “terrorist groups,” Erdoğan said July 28. At the same time, Erdoğan said he rejected the closure of any political party, suggesting that politicians should be the object of the cases, not legal entities.

But Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli called for the closure of the HDP because of its purported links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Demirtaş argued that those who were “cooking up a war game want to put the blame of their sins on the HDP.”

“The HDP will get stronger every day,” said Demirtaş. 

“They are running a so-called campaign [against the HDP] with their spies on our tails, their journalists on payroll, so-called nationalists. We are not afraid of an election, we are ready for an early election. This time we will, hopefully, bury for good the mentality that prefers war to reaching out to peace,” he said.

Demirtaş was also asked about his brother, Nurettin Demirtaş, a PKK member who was injured in Turkish airstrikes, according to Anadolu Agency.

“I cannot confirm the Anadolu Agency report, because my brother is not in Kandil,” the HDP co-leader said. 

“My brother is not conducting paid military service against [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] ISIL; he is resisting ISIL for the sake of his people,” he added.