President Erdoğan opposes establishment of monitoring group for Kurdish peace proces

President Erdoğan opposes establishment of monitoring group for Kurdish peace proces

President Erdoğan opposes establishment of monitoring group for Kurdish peace proces

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed the announced plans to establish a monitoring panel as part of the government-led Kurdish peace process.

“I do not have any information about it, I read about it in the newspapers,” Erdoğan said on March 20 at a press conference, when asked about reports suggesting that the government and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had agreed on establishing a six-member monitoring panel.

“I want to clearly state that I do not look positively on such a thing,” he said at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport before departing for a visit to Ukraine.

“During my time as prime minister, I objected to the idea of sending a group from the ‘wise people committee’ [to İmralı, where jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader Öcalan is serving a life sentence]. I’m saying the same thing now. Such things are not right,” Erdoğan added.

Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan said in an interview with Anadolu Agency on March 18 that the government had decided to establish a monitoring committee of five to six people to oversee the implementation of the Kurdish peace process, noting that the final decision on its composition and mandate would be made by the prime minister next week.

According to media reports, the government has selected six people from an expanded list of names proposed by the HDP to form the monitoring group.

However, Erdoğan appeared to pour cold water on the plans, saying the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) should lead the peace process, “just like in every country.”

“These jobs are done through them. Moreover, we as the government also sent three members of the obvious representative party [to İmralı],” Erdoğan added, referring to the first group of HDP lawmakers who visited Öcalan in early 2013.

“There is no need to hide these things, but increasing the number from three to five, seven, 10, 15, or sending a separate group, what is this going to change?” he said.

Erdoğan added that such actions should not be made “to satisfy someone.”

“If the government is in control, the government should do its part based on the process it started. These are my sincere thoughts,” he said.

The president’s remarks came one day before a crucial date in the Kurdish peace process, after a five-member delegation visited Öcalan on March 19 and received his message to be read at the Nevruz festivities in Diyarbakır on March 21.

The government expects Öcalan’s message to include a call for the PKK to lay down its arms.