HDP concerned AKP will not take ‘democratic’ steps over Kurdish process

HDP concerned AKP will not take ‘democratic’ steps over Kurdish process

Şükrü Küçükşahin ANKARA
HDP concerned AKP will not take ‘democratic’ steps over Kurdish process

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Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş has expressed serious concerns on the government’s commitment to take steps for democratization as part of the Kurdish peace process, criticizing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for creating “false expectations.”

“The government is in a mood like [the process] is done. The perception on disarmament is wrong. I do not think the AKP will take steps on democracy,” Demirtaş told Hürriyet on March 1.

His statement came a day after an HDP delegation and government representatives outlined a call from Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), for PKK leaders to hold a congress in the spring to discuss the disarmament of the organization. The two parties also announced a 10-article statement detailing the titles on which negotiations will be based for a final settlement of the Kurdish issue.

Saturday’s joint statement constitutes an important commitment from both sides, Demirtaş stated, while criticizing the government for “ignoring its promises” during the process and only highlighting the disarmament part of it.   

“The government does not care about these 10 articles and does not say anything about whether it will launch a negotiation process about them. We are also in favor of laying down arms and we attach importance to it. But the perception created through Saturday’s statement that this issue is now resolved is wrong, for us,” the HDP co-chair said.

The government’s attitude is pushing the HDP to think that the ruling party is planning to use the disarmament issue and overall peace process as a “propaganda tool” for the upcoming parliamentary elections, Demirtaş added.

“If your only concern is elections, do you think we are running this process just to give you a good propaganda tool? If so, that’s a big mistake. That’s why I am saying I’m not hopeful about the AKP,” he said.

‘HDP to pass 10 percent threshold’

Although there are difficulties, the process should be able to continue and the PKK should also start to prepare itself, Demirtaş also said, calling on the government to withdraw the controversial security package that has caused serious tension between it and the three opposition parties at parliament.

“The security package alone is evidence that the AKP has nothing to do with peace and democracy. This package speaks for itself about the government’s sincerity on peace,” he said.

Demirtaş also touched on the issue of the 10 percent election threshold, saying that passing the threshold is critical for the future of the peace process.

“The HDP’s growth increases the chance for peace. The AKP won’t be in power alone if the HDP passes the threshold. Then, peace will be easier,” he said.