PKK must ‘absolutely lay down arms against Turkey’: HDP co-chair

PKK must ‘absolutely lay down arms against Turkey’: HDP co-chair

PKK must ‘absolutely lay down arms against Turkey’: HDP co-chair Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş called on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to lay down its arms against Turkey, but also stressed that his call was not enough for a final solution.

“The way to stop the PKK from being a threat is through negotiations. If it is up to our call, I would make a call every now and then ... It’s not up to a call, but I am making a call here: The PKK must absolutely lay down arms against Turkey,” Demirtaş said on private broadcaster Habertürk late July 14.

He also said the role of Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK’s jailed leader, is the determinant factor in the PKK’s laying down of arms.

Demirtaş’s call came hours before Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and the team of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) visited the HDP headquarters as part of the first round of talks to form a coalition government. The AKP lost its parliamentarian majority with the June 7 general elections in which the HDP managed to cross the national electoral threshold.

Tension in Turkey’s overwhelmingly Kurdish-populated regions has increased in recent days after the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella group that also includes the PKK, declared the end of its three-year cease-fire with the Turkish government, adding they would target the construction of fortified military installations (kalekol) and dams in the region.  

“It’s true that tension is high. But it’s not the day to draw swords. I say this both to the KCK and to the government. No one should think of increasing the tension,” Demirtaş told journalists earlier on June 14.

On Habertürk, Demirtaş also said a coalition between the AKP and the Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) would be “very beneficial” if it does not “exclude the principles laid out by the HDP” to continue the Kurdish peace bid. 

If coalition talks fail, the HDP can raise its votes to up to 20 percent in an early election, he said.