Kurdish issue tops agenda of politicians in Turkey

Kurdish issue tops agenda of politicians in Turkey

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Kurdish issue tops agenda of politicians in Turkey

Opposition leader Kılıçdaroğlu seeks nationalist MHP’s support for his plan. DAILY NEWS photo

Turkey’s ruling and main opposition parties can positively contribute to a solution to the Kurdish issue, the prime minister said yesterday as the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) rebuffed concerted efforts from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) to join the process.

The main opposition CHP will continue to press the MHP in the coming “months,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a TV station late June 6, the same day he and CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu came together for a historic meeting to collaborate on ending the Kurdish problem with initiatives that could include a joint parliamentary commission and a “Wise People” group.

Kılıçdaroğlu yesterday once again offered an olive branch to MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, who harshly criticized the CHP’s stance on the issue and urged the main opposition party to stop talks on the “so-called” Kurdish question with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

MHP deputy group chair Oktay Vural also reiterated his party’s objections to the establishment of the commission, describing the main opposition’s initiative as “a new opening” from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“Our discourse on the [Kurdish] issue may disturb some parties. But our expressions are not unchangeable. Definitions are not a big deal, but we have to come together first of all. We are still calling on all political parties including the MHP and the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party], as well as extra-parliamentary political parties. We want to secure a national consensus in this country,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

 “If you say the Wise People Commission is a proposal of [PKK leader Abdullah] Öcalan, then we can rename it the Opinion Leaders Commission, or something else. If you say ‘Don’t call the issue the Kurdish question,’ all right, we can call it a terror problem. Naming is not the problem, the matter is actually coming together,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that he may ask for an appointment with Bahçeli.
But Vural said his party would not meet the CHP even if they asked for an appointment to discuss the “terror problem.”

The AKP’s Ömer Çelik had previously said that if the opposition parties objected to the process, the CHP and the AKP would set a mechanism consisting only of representatives of their two parties. 

For its part, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) suggested that a process for a solution to the Kurdish issue should be launched even if the MHP did not make a contribution.

“If the MHP does not join [the process], won’t there be peace? Will the bloodshed not stop unless the MHP says yes?” BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said, adding that they would evaluate any appointment request from the CHP.