KCK disappointed over democratization package, gives gov’t three demands

KCK disappointed over democratization package, gives gov’t three demands

KCK disappointed over democratization package, gives gov’t three demands

The democratization package was announced by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a press conference in ankara on Sept. 30. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Kurdish militants are considering whether to maintain their cease-fire after noting that a much-anticipated democratization package failed to address their expectations, while giving the government three demands to advance the peace process. 

“The package disappointed democratic forces, especially the Kurds. ... It is clear that the package did not meet Kurdish demands,” the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), said in a statement today, warning the government about a possible suspension of a cease-fire that was declared in March during Newroz.

“How or whether we maintain the cease-fire and which path and method we opt for depends on the attitude of the government and the Turkish state in the coming days,” the statement said, accusing the government of playing for time with the Kurdish peace process.

Demand of autonomy

The KCK said three demands should be met to advance the peace process: The recognition of Kurdish identity in the Constitution, the recognition of “democratic” autonomy and the recognition of the right to mother-tongue education.

“Should the Turkish state and government fail to change their present attitude toward the Kurdish issue and do what is necessary for the solution of the problem, our movement will re-evaluate the state of affairs and take steps to build a free and democratic life with its own will and method in line with its theoretical line and paradigm,” the statement said.

The KCK also called on neighboring countries to support the process between the government and the PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan.

The democratization package announced on Sept. 30 was seen as an opportunity to regain momentum in the peace process, which was stalled after the PKK announced the withdrawal of militants from Turkish soil in May.

Lawmakers of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have slammed the package, with co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş saying the peace process had come to a “de facto end” due to its shortcomings. 

“The package has nothing to do with the process. There is no dialogue, the government has de facto ended the process,” Demirtaş said during a press conference in Diyarbakır on Oct. 8. 

Kurds criticized the democratization package for only providing provisions for mother-tongue education in private schools and only promising to change the names of towns and villages – but not provinces as well – back to their originals in terms of measures addressed at Kurds. At the same time, the student oath, which is heavy in its promotion of Turkishness, was also removed as part as a move to satisfy Kurdish demands. 

Many in the movement, however, had been hoping that the condition of political prisoners in the KCK case would also be ameliorated.