Babacan conveys important messages on Kurdish question
Ali Babacan, the chair of the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), was in Diyarbakır over the weekend to chair his party’s first provincial convention in the southeastern region’s most important city.
Diyarbakır has always played an important role as the center of Kurdish politics in Turkey and almost all the political parties and prominent politicians have preferred to explicitly outline their views about the Kurdish question from this city.
As a matter of fact, President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had visited this city a number of times and held exceptional rallies with the participation of senior Kurdish political and social figures in a bid to promote the peace process and his Kurdish opening. This has no longer been the case for him since 2015.
That’s why the visit of Babacan, a former member of the AKP and one of the longest-serving ministers of Erdoğan governments, to the city was important to observe how he would be welcomed there and what messages he would disseminate from the city.
According to the journalists who covered his visit to Diyarbakır, Babacan had a very good reception from the people and prominent figures of the city as he was greeted by a 600-vehicle convoy in his entry into the town. Despite the pandemic, hundreds of people attended the convention and Babacan also had meetings with the civil society, trade chambers and journalists during the stay.
It was also important that his visit comes after dozens of senior officials and politicians from the ranks of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were imprisoned over Kobane incidents in 2014.
His address at the convention signals that DEVA has the potential in playing a constructive role in resolving the Kurdish question through peaceful and political means.
“We are here for a Diyarbakır where TOMAs [anti-riot water cannon vehicles] won’t be on its streets and no [police] operations will be held in the morning,” Babacan said, “We are here to protect your vote, your will, your elections and elected ones.”
Citing a serious decline in the democratic standards of Turkey where fundamental and constitutional freedoms can hardly be exercised, Babacan criticized the AKP for tagging after the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), whose priorities do not include democratization, human rights or solving the Kurdish question.
DEVA’s leader recalled that 48 HDP mayors were removed from their jobs and replaced by trustees since the local elections of March 2019 and described this policy as a punishment against the people for reflecting their will in the polls.
“We are of the view that a solution [to the Kurdish issue] will be political and we will defend democracy persistently,” Babacan said, urging that the removal of the democratically elected mayors would only further fuel the already growing Kurdish problem.
“We hit the road to stand against anybody who is closing the political paths in this country,” he stated, also making clear his party’s opposition against terror organizations and any other structure resorting to violence.
The solution to the Kurdish question cannot be accomplished only through security means, diplomacy and professional use of international relations should be considered, Babacan stated.
All these messages conveyed by Babacan perfectly define DEVA’s approach to one of Turkey’s most significant and sensitive problems based on democratic rules. This approach of the DEVA bears similarities with the understanding of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which is eyeing expanding the Nation Alliance in the next elections.
In this respect, Babacan’s messages from Diyarbakır were important in regards to DEVA’s getting closer to the opposition alliance.