Kurdish bid may hit floor of Parliament
The joint work of the planned wise persons’ commission would greatly aid the ongoing Kurdish peace process, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin (C) says. AA photoThe government is not considering a legal amendment to secure the retreat of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, although a legal amendment will be necessary for their eventual return to Turkey after the PKK is ultimately disarmed, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said on March 29. Ergin stressed that this would only happen at the end of a three-stage process leading to an eventual normalization.
“A legal amendment for the withdrawal of the armed terror organization [PKK] is out of the question. But there’s a [common] opinion that a wise people commission’s joint work would be helpful for the process, this has been discussed. Beyond that, whether an examination or working commission in Parliament could be formed separately [regarding the PKK retreat], this can be evaluated,” Ergin said, during debates over the fourth judicial package at Parliament’s Justice Commission.
He was responding to claims from opposition deputies that the package was part of the government’s secret promises to jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan, during talks in the “resolution process” aimed at ending three-decade-long clashes between security forces and the PKK.
Ergin recalled that Öcalan had sent letters to the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the PKK’s current armed leadership in northern Iraq’s Kandil Mountains, and the PKK’s European wing in Brussels, in order to explain the course of his ongoing talks with the government.
“We have never hidden what we are talking about. Putting an end to the activities of the PKK and securing their retreat [from Turkey] is aimed at in the first stage. Consolidating the democracy of Turkey will be the second stage. Complete disarmament and the normalization process will be the third phase.
These are our targets,” Ergin said, adding that Öcalan had explained those three phases in his letters.
After complete disarmament of the PKK, legal amendments would be necessary to reintegrate the PKK members into Turkey, he added.
“Legal amendments for the third phase will be necessary. If the first two phases can be passed over, the normalization process would begin. In this process, arms would be buried, there would be no armed elements, and the environment of terror and conflict would come to an end. As part of the normalization process, legal amendments will be required to adapt our citizens, who retreated out of Turkey, into the country,” Ergin said.
Stressing that, as a party governing the country for 10 years, they would never do anything “against the people’s will,” Ergin recalled that the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had also proposed solution methods for the Kurdish issue over the past 30 years. “The resolution we are mulling over does not contain anything beyond those [CHP’s] proposals. The [ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP does not deceive the nation,” he said.
In further comments, Ergin made clear that Kurdish issue was not a problem limited to the past three decades, with Turkey insisting on resorting to the same fruitless methods for resolving the issue over the past 88 years, since the 1925 Sheikh Said rebellion.
“Think about the reasoning of the state that suggested similar solutions for the problem over the past 88 years. Those diagnoses and treatments made the problem chronic, rather than bearing fruit. We have to think about how patriotic it is to suggest maintaining methods that have not borne fruit for the past 88 years,” he said.