Presidential spokesperson Kalın denies post-election Kurdish peace process
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has denied any new peace process with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), after a chief presidential advisor suggested that such an initiative could be launched after the June 24 snap election.
“Our president’s agenda does not include such a solution process. The struggle against the PKK will continue,” Kalın said in a written statement issued on May 18.
The statement came after advisor İlnur Çevik responded positively to a question about whether there could be a new peace process, during an interview on Habertürk TV late on May 17.
“Sure, why shouldn’t such things [happen]. But apparently it has to wait until after the election given the short period of time,” Çevik said.
Questioned about whether the reason for delay has anything to do with the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) pre-election alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Çevik said “it has nothing to do with the MHP.”
He instead pointed to Erdoğan’s pledges for “more freedom and more democracy” if he is re-elected president, saying “I think there would be a process within this [perspective].”
The MHP strongly opposes any negotiations with the PKK and supports a military solution to the Kurdish issue. Its support for the constitutional amendment has been developed into a “People’s Alliance” with the AKP for the election, endorsing Erdoğan in the presidential race.
Çevik’s comments were interpreted as heralding a new peace process policy between the PKK and Turkey, but Kalın denied any work was being carried out to such an end.
“The policy of denial and assimilation of the past has been abolished,” he added.
The years between 2009 and 2015 were marked by “solution processes” between the PKK and the Turkish state, when decades-long clashes between the two sides were put on hold amid cease-fires.
The most recent process collapsed in 2015 amid a large-scale military operation against PKK forces and the PKK’s announcement of the resumption of clashes.