Parliament’s word important on Kurdish issue, Öcalan’s freedom: İhsanoğlu
Cansu Çamlıbel DİYARBAKIR
DHA PhotoPresidential hopeful Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu has lent support to the government’s efforts in finding a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question, which includes the possible release of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“I am a supporter of the [Kurdish] peace process because I am against war,” said İhsanoğlu, the former head of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the joint presidential candidate of nine parties, including the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
“Turkey does not want to split itself apart; it does not want people to die. We have lost so many lives,” İhsanoğlu told daily Hürriyet on July 25, during his visit to the southeastern province Diyarbakır, home to the largest Kurdish population in the country.
“I did not come to Diyarbakır to represent any political parties. I am a candidate who wants to express his concerns, who wants to reunite Turkey and make it a more peaceful country,” he added.
İhsanoğlu also acknowledged that the Kurdish population was not the only group suffering from discrimination in Turkey. “The Kurdish issue is down to the state’s habit of solving everything through force. However, our Kurdish brothers are not the only ones who encounter these problems, people who are religious as well as those who belong to the right and left [also face the same problems],” he said.
“Think that you are born in Diyarbakır but you do not have the right to speak your mother tongue. Why? Because someone with a stick in his hand came and hit you on the head and said you cannot speak it. There cannot be a bigger oppression,” the joint presidential candidate said, referring to the ban on the Kurdish language following the 1980 coup d’état.
İhsanoğlu also confirmed that he would approve a bill from Parliament paving the way for Öcalan to be released from prison. “The president should probably approve anything that society and Parliament approves. If there is no consensus then society will be divided and a president should not accept such a division,” İhsanoğlu added.