Turkey renames Kurdish peace process mediator
Yalçın Akdoğan was serving as one of the closest right hand men of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and is observed as one of the ideologues of the AKP.Turkey’s new government formed by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has introduced Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan as the most likely replacer of Beşir Atalay, who has been conducting the Kurdish peace process since 2009.
“Atalay’s most likely successor is Mr. Akdoğan. As a former academic and with his knowledge on the background of the Kurdish resolution process, I am of the opinion that Akdoğan will lead the process,” Hüseyin Çelik, deputy leader and spokesperson of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) told private broadcaster NTV on Aug. 29.
“Akdoğan has always been in the core of the peace process from the beginning in both its theoretical and practical stages,” Çelik recalled. The fact that Atalay handed over his seat to Akdoğan on Aug. 29 is another indication that the new master of the process will be the latter, although final assignments will be made by Davutoğlu in the coming days.
Atalay will serve as deputy leader and spokesperson of the party, replacing Çelik, who has become a deputy prime minister. Atalay described the move as a "surprise" late Aug. 29.
Akdoğan was serving as one of the closest right hand men of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and is observed as one of the ideologues of the AKP. He also writes regular columns for daily Star.
Upon questions from reporters, Akdoğan said no division of labor has been made on who’s going to take the dossier, but said it would be done in the first Cabinet meeting.
Apart from the peace process, Akdoğan will also deal with the growing refugee problem, as the number of Syrian immigrants has recently exceeded 1,200,000.
“We are playing our part in building the new Turkey. We’ll exert every effort with our heart and soul in fulfilling our responsibility in building the new Turkey,” he said. Describing politics as a flag race, Akdoğan said he will do his best until he passes the flag to his successor when his term ends.
The change of duty for this position came at a very critical period as the government and Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have intensified negotiations on the peace process. The Kurdish political parties are seeking political demands as the government is preparing a fresh road map that will outline its next measures.
The conflict has been ongoing for the past 40 years, claiming more than 40,000 lives.