HDP contacts Turkish gov’t to end clashes with PKK
Murat YETKİNFollowing 10 days full of acts of terrorism by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and massive retaliation by the Turkish army against PKK bases in Iraq, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has contacted the government in a move to end the clashes in order to resume talks in pursuit of a political solution to Turkey’s chronic problem.
An HDP delegation consisting of two MPs from the HDP, İdris Baluken and Sırrı Süreyya Önder, visited Muhammed Dervişoğlu, the undersecretary of the Public Order and Security (KDGM), on Aug. 4 in the first official contact since talks were paused in April because of the start of campaigning for the June 7 elections, official and party sources confirmed to the Hürriyet Daily News.
As a first step to softening the atmosphere, the government allowed the bodies of 12 Kurds and one German killed fighting for Syrian Kurdish forces led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in Syria and Iraq, to enter Turkey to be laid to rest, in return for a promise that the funerals would not be turned into PKK demonstrations. The bodies had been prevented from entering Turkey since the start of PKK actions and retaliatory Turkish operations. The bodies were delivered to their families and buried with no reported incident.
The visit of the HDP delegation to the KDGM took place hours after a meeting between the HDP and the social democratic Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) in the office of CHP chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in parliament. Kılıçdaroğlu was the only leader to reply positively to a call by HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş that politicians should sit and talk in order to stop the rising violence. Last week, the HDP was the only party to support the CHP’s call for the creation of a parliamentary commission on recent acts of terror, as the move was rejected with the votes of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) and Devlet Bahçeli’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
One ranking official source who talked on condition of anonymity told HDN that the statement made by CHP spokesman Engin Altay was “exemplary” in the sense that he underlined the priority of the PKK stopping its actions in order to give space for “democratic politics.” “There should be no place for arms when the HDP can elect 80 deputies to parliament and can speak about everything they want; the road to legal politics is open in Turkey,” the source said.
Confirming that the message they got from the “state” was that the “military operations will not stop until the PKK stop its attacks,” one HDP source who asked not to be named told HDN that the recent dialogue between them and the CHP could be a reason why the government has decided to soften its attitude against the HDP and that the HDP thought “there is more that the CHP could do for domestic peace and democracy.”
In a parallel move by the HDP, Demirtaş flew to Brussels to have discussions with the ranking members of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the front organization of the PKK, probably with Zübeyr Aydar and Remzi Kartal as the two senior figures that have a say on PKK politics in general. Kartal told Radikal last week that the “solution process” was not at the point of no-return and that there could be a way out.
The official source talking to HDN said the HDP co-chairman could be surprised to hear that the KCK people would tell him that without an end to PKK actions, there could be no improvement, because “they would know that both the U.S. and the EU acknowledge Turkey’s right to respond to acts of terrorism.”
The sources also said the permission for an HDP delegation to visit PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan at İmralı prison – something that has not happened since April 5 – was also mentioned during the Aug. 4 conversation but that it would depend on “certain conditions.”
PM Davutoğlu said on July 25 that no political delegation would be allowed to visit Öcalan unless the PKK takes its armed groups out of Turkey, but HDP sources hope there could be a softening in that stance depending on developments if there are no actions and operations within the next few weeks.