Main opposition leader warns government of Kurdish bid failure

Main opposition leader warns government of Kurdish bid failure

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Main opposition leader warns government of Kurdish bid failure

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu explains why his party has so far refused to be part of the ongoing peace effort. DHA photo

Any failure in the recent efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue will mean a major blow to the whole country, according to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

“We want the process to succeed,” Kılıçdaroğlu said yesterday during a meeting with the editors-in-chief of daily newspapers in Istanbul on May 10. “If it fails, all of us will lose,” he said. 

The main opposition also complained about poor information sharing by the government on the issue. “Neither we nor the Parliament or the Cabinet ministers know about the process,” he said. 

“There are only five people with knowledge.” However the CHP would renew its approach to the issue with any further information input. “We are receiving some information and it is enlarging our worries,” he said. 

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been criticizing the opposition for its lack of support in the peace efforts. “We are facing an equation with multiple variables. How could we support a process that we are not included in?” Kılıçdaroğlu asked. 

On the contrary, no ministers have talked about a constitutional or lawful change in connection with the process, he said. “The prime ministers says he will not talk about the issue. So Kandil keeps speaking,” he said refering to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leaders in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq.

“’We have kept our promise and now it is the government’s turn,’ Kandil says. What promises did the government made? We do not know,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, asking for more transparency. The government should inform both the people and Parliament, he said, adding that closed sessions in Parliament were an alternative.

“What we are concerned about is the possibility of the government’s making promises that it cannot explain to the people,” he said. The CHP head also said the jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan, was starting to be seen as the sole representative of the Kurdish people through the process. 

The government has assigned “irreversible legitimacy” to the PKK by speaking to Öcalan instead of reaching out to the political parties in Parliament, according to Kılıçdaroğlu. “The AKP has granted irreversible legitimacy to the PKK, and made the Turkish Republic address Öcalan, removing all cause for foreign countries and international organizations to treat the PKK as a terrorist organization,” he said at a press meeting before today’s meeting. Kılıçdaroğlu accused the government of being insincere and politically motivated in its attempts to resolve the Kurdish issue, and said his party wanted to found “perpetual societal peace” in the nation. He further explained the causes behind his party’s choice to steer clear of the peace process and become a target of criticism for doing so. 

The AKP’s attitude of secrecy in initiatives hampers the CHP’s involvement in the process, Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that further causes of restraint were the AKP’s motives in wanting help. “We see two causes behind the AKP’s reason for wanting to include the CHP. First they want to legitimize the unlawfulness of the process, and secondly they want to have a scapegoat if they fail,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

For silencing guns

The CHP leader also mentioned a list of points of concerns that he said were also shared by the people ranging from the AKP’s track record on the issue to secret negotiations. “They have led campaigns of exploitation previously as well, before elections, to achieve temporary peace,” the CHP head said, adding that secret negotiations under the shadow of guns would fail to succeed.

“Of course it is positive, and necessary, for the guns to stop, but it is not enough. [The PKK] has expressed themselves that they will return to Turkey for acts of terror when they see it necessary. What would really be sufficient would be the PKK’s giving up all acts of terror and turning in their guns to officials,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

In addition to domestic concerns on the AKP motives, which he said were politically driven, Kılıçdaroğlu also mentioned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent policies in the region, specifically policies regarding Syria and northern Iraq. 

“These are moves that will cause obligatory wars to set borders in the medium term. The AKP is acting as a surrogate mother for new formations in the region, and putting the people of our own country and of the region at risk for short-term interests,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.