Demirtaş’s proclamation at İmralı Island

Demirtaş’s proclamation at İmralı Island

“This resolution process cannot proceed with only the messages you are giving from here. Let’s work on it from three directions: you [Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK] from İmralı [Island], we from Parliament as political representatives, the People’s Democratic Party [HDP] and the PKK.”

Selahattin Demirtaş who has been re-elected as co-chair of the HDP is claimed to have said these two sentences to Öcalan during their meeting on İmralı, which angered Öcalan.

Demirtaş went even further: “I have never believed in an armed solution, but you have put a lot of effort into it; you have taken the Kurdish issue to the top of the agenda in the country; that’s a different issue. However, despite this, we need to decide how right it is that only one will is valid during the resolution process.”

Öcalan gets angrier. He has been the “sole will” for years, what does it mean to give up “one will”? There are two outcomes of his anger: First he does not want to see Demirtaş on İmralı again; second, he does not want Demirtaş to be a presidential candidate.

There are two outcomes also for Demirtaş, despite Öcalan… First, he is most probably a candidate for presidency and second, he was re-elected as co-chair of the HDP in the party congress held last weekend.

The general conclusion drawn is Öcalan is not effective to the same extent as he is on the PKK as he is on the grassroots of the HDP.  Even though the HDP is ever so respectful of Öcalan in meetings and speeches, for instance, in the last congress, Öcalan posters were not waved in hands as it used to be.

However, Öcalan and HDP actually meet at the same point of “political resolution.” The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), with the last Kurdish package it prepared, has joined them at this meeting point. One aspect less, though… If the presidential election needs a second round, that package is a bribe for the Kurds. The content of the package, its timing and target of absolutely passing it before the elections are all proof of this.

This is maneuver from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip is no surprise before the presidential elections, whereas Demirtaş, with that proclamation, is introducing a different platform for the HDP, himself and the Kurdish issue.

CHP may spoil the game

Will the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) watch Erdoğan’s dealings with the Kurds from a distance, or will it take an active step? If there is a second round, how will it be able to attract Kurdish votes?

Kılıçdaroğlu may have a long tour in the southeast. He may explain their own resolution proposals regarding the Kurdish issue.

The impression I received from a talk I had with one of the outstanding Kurdish representatives, was despite the Kurdish package – the package was not out then but was expected – there is no guarantee for whom the Kurds will vote in the second round. They are not too distanced from the CHP, even though they have nominated a joint candidate with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). As long as the CHP takes a meaningful step in that direction and is able to explain itself.

An alliance with the Kurds in the presidential elections is a must. If there is a second round, without gaining the votes of the Kurds, nobody can be elected president. There is an opportunity for the CHP to have a dialogue with the Kurds.

Besides, there is another fresh example. Alevis were initially against İhsanoğlu, but that attitude is changing now.