No further statement on the Kurdish issue

No further statement on the Kurdish issue

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
No further statement on the Kurdish issue

Mesud Barzani. AA photo

Despite high expectations, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not further his recent statements about a potential dialogue process on the Kurdish issue with the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan. Instead he made a vague call to “his Kurdish brothers” to take a step against terrorism and declare that “enough is enough.” In return Erdoğan promised the government would implement initiatives for Kurds’ rights and said the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) 2023 Political Vision document foresees new initiatives on the usage of the mother tongue.

Last week Erdoğan had signaled that a new process of dialogue could be launched with Öcalan and other senior PKK officials, similar to the previous Oslo talks held between Turkish intelligence officials and PKK members. Erdoğan was expected to detail the possible negation process during his lengthy speech at the Fourth Congress of the AKP, but he instead fell short of expectations. The prime minister went only as far as to make a call to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and to the Kurdish people.

“We are determined to solve the [Kurdish] issue despite provocations and smear campaigns against the government,” the prime minister said, adding that terrorism in Turkey is supported by both internal and external forces.

“We have been alone in our fight against terrorism, in our process of democratization,” he said. “This is a call to the main opposition. We are ready [to work together],” he said, while inviting the CHP to help solve the long-standing Kurdish question with the AKP. He did not, however, specify the addressee of his call, but said “the Kurdish question can be solved not by those who hug terrorists, but by those who hug the nation,” in an apparent reference to a video showing some Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies and a group PKK members chatting in the Şemdinli district of the southeastern province of Hakkari.

Yet, the AKP’s 2023 vision document, released during the congress, foresees some new steps to be taken on the mother tongue issue. The document says the AKP is planning to make a legal arrangement about the right of defense in the mother tongue which has been a frequent source of debate in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trials. Also the document says the AKP is planning to speed up the work on the right to access public services in peoples’ own mother tongue, while noting the official language of Turkey is still Turkish. The multi-lingual municipal services in the southeastern part of Turkey have always been subject to legal probes.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leader Massoud Barzani who attended yesterday’s congress praised Erdoğan’s Kurdish policy and said the KRG was ready “to do whatever they can to help [Erdoğan put an end to the bloodshed].”

“We see that your leaders’ policy is on the right track. I thank Erdoğan for his speech in Diyarbakır in which he said that the Kurdish issue would be resolved. We are ready to help with whatever we can do,” he said in his speech in the congress.