Three parties sign joint anti-terror declaration, HDP declines in protest

Three parties sign joint anti-terror declaration, HDP declines in protest

Three parties sign joint anti-terror declaration, HDP declines in protest

Mustafa Alan, centre, the father of Mehmet Alan, 29, killed at Sunday's explosion in Ankara, embraces a mourner next to his son's coffin, during the funeral procession at Fatih Mosque in Istanbul, Tuesday, March 15, 2016. AP Photo

Three of the four political parties represented in Turkey’s parliament have published a joint declaration condemning terrorism after a suicide attack hit central Ankara on March 13 and killed at least 37 people, however, the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) declined to sign the document.

“We say that expressing and sharing this common grief is more important than any political or ideological attachment,” the statement signed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on March 15 said. 

The declaration argued the acts of terror targeting the country originated from “historic aims against the republic’s unity” and hoped to destroy the idea of a common future by creating bitterness and weariness among its people. 

The parties also underlined that Turkey was part of a “complex and problematic region,” and called for calm and caution by all persons and institutions in the face of terror attacks. 

The group deputy chairpersons of each of the signee parties, Naci Bostancı of the AKP, Levent Gök of the CHP and Oktay Vural of the MHP, signed the statement on behalf of their parties. 

The only political party which did not agree to sign the declaration was the HDP, the third largest party in parliament, which argued that releasing a joint declaration only served to evade parliament’s responsibility to prevent the recurrence of such attacks. 

“The parliament is the place to solve problems. To confine oneself to releasing a declaration after attacks is not an answer to problems,” the group deputy chairpersons of the HDP, Çağlar Demirel and İdris Baluken, said at a press briefing released in response to the declaration. 

Insisting on releasing a joint declaration was a “fascist indicator” of an attempt by the AKP government and the presidency to “exculpate” themselves after failing to prevent an attack, the HDP claimed. The party also called on parliament to form a commission to tackle the issue of terrorism. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said late March 14 that “some circles, at home and abroad,” had to make a choice between siding with the state or with terrorists. 

“There is no middle way,” he said while also expressing his desire to broaden the definition of terrorism to include “accomplices” - including MPs and intellectuals - who allegedly support acts of terror.