Parliament the key to solving Kurdish issue

Parliament the key to solving Kurdish issue

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Parliament the key to solving Kurdish issue

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) sits next to Iraqi Kurd leader Massoud Barzani before their meeting in Dolmabahçe Palace, Istanbul on Nov 5. AA photo

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) head Masoud Barzani has expressed strong support for Ankara’s struggle against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) ahead of a call by Turkey’s prime minister for the militants to abandon their armed struggle.

The Nov. 5 meeting was “good and successful,” Barzani told journalists, after talking for two hours with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Istanbul office of the Turkish Prime Ministry. “Our views are pretty close. We support the [Kurdish] opening and improvement policies of the prime minister. Such a policy will benefit both Turkey and the region.”

Barzani’s visit came in the aftermath of a landmark visit by Erdoğan to Arbil in March. On Nov. 4, the Kurdish leader met with President Abdullah Gül. Barzani, who also leads the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), had suggested visiting Turkey after the Kurban Bayram holiday which started yesterday, a diplomatic source told the Hürriyet Daily News. However, following Erdoğan’s insistence, Barzani agreed to come earlier, the source said on condition of anonymity.

‘No parallel state’

Addressing journalists after bayram prayers in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque yesterday morning, Erdoğan said the PKK should lay down arms if progress on a solution to the Kurdish issue was to continue.

Turkey cannot allow the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) to establish a parallel state, Erdoğan said in an apparent response to criticism over a recent wave of arrests suspected against members of the union, which is accused of being the PKK’s urban wing. “Nobody should expect our security forces to lay down arms, either.”

Regarding the PKK’s apparent use of northern Iraq as a safe haven, Erdoğan reiterated a request that Kurdish peshmerga “lend the necessary support” to Turkey.

“If the northern Iraq government can wage this struggle, we will expect them to do so,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency. “Otherwise, we have to do whatever is necessary ourselves.”

Erdoğan to PKK: Lay down your arms

Erdoğan also said the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, should “lay down arms” immediately.

“I can safely say many positive developments will take place after arms are laid down,” Erdoğan said. “If this is about politics, the place [for politics] is Parliament. Everybody can wage a struggle in Parliament. If there are rights to be won, they will be asked for in Parliament and whatever is necessary will be done there.”

The statement echoed that of Barzani’s a day earlier. “[Erdoğan] openly said the era of denying the existence of the Kurdish nation is over,” said the KRG leader. “After such a stance, we are against all military action by the PKK. The bloodshed must stop. We think that [any] struggle must be waged in Parliament. This problem has to be solved peacefully. The prime minister’s policy will be a great contribution for regional security.”

Barzani further said the fate of Turks and Kurds was “one” and that they should live together.

The Iraqi Kurdish leader left Turkey yesterday from Istanbul via a private jet. He was seen off by officials from Iraq’s Consulate General in Istanbul and Sırrı Sakık, a lawmaker from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).