Resentful HDP says ball now in government’s court

Resentful HDP says ball now in government’s court

Resentful HDP says ball now in government’s court

People's Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers Pervin Buldan, Sirri Sureyya Onder and Idris Baluken hold a press conferernce on April 30, 2015 in Ankara. AFP Photo

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a key stakeholder in a government-led but stalled peace process, has asserted that the ball is now in the government’s court to take steps to find a resolution.

“From our point of view, we have arrived at the end of the road. From now on, putting this [process] together is the government’s duty. Under which conditions will it happen? It will happen with the government’s declaration that it will stick to pledges made to us and to agreements,” HDP Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder said April 30.

“We have asked the government to display a seriousness which is equivalent to [Abdullah] Öcalan’s seriousness on this issue,” Önder said at a joint press conference with the deputy parliamentary group chairs of his party, İdris Baluken and Pervin Buldan, at parliament.

Öcalan is the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“If you try to defame him [Öcalan] at every inconvenience, the process will not move ahead by even a single step,” Önder said.

Along with Baluken and Buldan, Önder is a frequent visitor to Öcalan as part of HDP delegations with the peace process aimed at ending the three-decade-long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and PKK militants.

Öcalan has been in dialogue with state officials, the HDP and its predecessor, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), since at least late 2012, and is already playing a central role in the process. 

“Because of the defamation launched by the president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan], ‘the table’ empty at the moment. We won’t let the public and ourselves be used as an instrument for an affair which will not run with the seriousness of an official negotiation,” Önder said, referring to Erdoğan’s recent statements denying both the existence of a Kurdish issue and “the talks” that set the stage for the process in 2012.