Kurdish initiative still on table, says Deputy PM

Kurdish initiative still on table, says Deputy PM

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Kurdish initiative still on table, says Deputy PM

Atalay explains the arrangements under the National Unity and Brotherhood Project, such as legal arrangement for defense in mother tongue in courts. DAILY NEWS photo Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Describing the issue of terrorism as one “beyond politics,” Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay yesterday reasserted the government’s determination to continue the “National Unity and Brotherhood Project,” first launched in 2009.

Atalay fell short of explicitly stating whether a new Oslo process – similar to the secret talks held between the government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) between 2009 and 2011 in the Norwegian capital – was on the horizon and whether convicted PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence on İmralı Island, could be included in the new process as one of the instruments.

“As the prime minister has also emphasized, we will continue taking the required steps for the benefit of our country and nation without hesitation. Whoever needs to be met with in order to stop the blood and to stop this vicious problem; whatever step needs to be taken; whichever tolls and mechanisms should go into force; we are not and will not show any hesitation in making the required decisions in the appropriate time and grounds,” Atalay said in a speech delivered at the Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE).

He added that the government was aiming for stronger cooperation on the issue with opposition parties as well as civil society.

National Unity, Brotherhood Project

A legal arrangement that will pave the way for conducting defense in one’s mother-tongue in courts, facilitating public services in mother-tongues and plans for establishing a civilian body that will assess complaints regarding security forces are under way as part of the “National Unity and Brotherhood Project,” Atalay explained, defining the project’s target as being to increase democratic standards while minimizing terror.

“On terror and related issues, as issues beyond politics, we will continue to decisively, actively and determinedly work with all political parties, civil society organizations and our nation,” Atalay said.

“We are reviewing all instruments regarding the terror issue. We are and will put into force all instruments both together and separately. In this regard, we are both eyeing international conjuncture and also following the situation in related states,” Atalay said, emphasizing that combating terrorism was the most important item on the government’s agenda.