Turkey's leaders agree to meet on Kurdish problem

Turkey's leaders agree to meet on Kurdish problem

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkeys leaders agree to meet on Kurdish problem

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Leaders of the ruling and the main opposition parties will come together in a rare meeting on Wednesday to discuss what the political parties can do to solve the Kurdish question and end the violence. 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has agreed to meet the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in his party headquarters on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., to listen to the main opposition party’s 10-article package that includes a fresh mechanism to deal with the Kurdish question. 

“I am not prejudiced. First, I have to see this 10-article package,” Erdoğan told reporters on Sunday in Şanlıurfa, a southeastern Anatolian town where he was attending his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) provincial congress. 

“If they come to us with a package that we can also benefit from, then we would elaborate on it in our relevant decision-making bodies. We can work on it together if there are issues that necessitate this,” he stated. However, Erdoğan recalled that they had not previously received support from the CHP on their “Kurdish opening” initiative, launched in 2009. “We hope that they will come to us with a different approach this time.”

The CHP’s two deputy leaders, Faruk Loğoğlu and Sezgin Tanrıkulu, drafted a 10 point article and first introduced it to Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek last week. The proposals include the establishment of the Social Consensus Commission at Parliament and a group of “wise men” linked to the parliamentary commission. Underlining that the problem is of concern to the whole of society, the CHP’s proposal highlights the role of Parliament in ending the violence and terror activities in the country. 

“Why could this problem not be solved over the last 25-30 years? Why could terrorism not be ended? The only responsibility for this is with politics as an institution,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Sunday, addressing his party’s İzmir Convention. Saying that he would meet with Erdoğan on Wednesday, Kılıçdaroğlu said “the new CHP will continue to bring about new ideas and proposals for the solution of Turkey’s main problems.” 

Meeting at AKP’s HQ

The meeting between Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu will take place at the AKP’s headquarters in Ankara. Sources said Kılıçdaroğlu demanded the appointment from Erdoğan in his capacity as the chairman of the AKP, so the venue could either be the AKP’s headquarters or Erdoğan’s office at Parliament. Though the two have met several times in the last two years, Kılıçdaroğlu has never visited the AKP’s HQ. 

The CHP’s initiative received support from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the majority of whose voters are Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent. 

BDP supportive of the process

“For the first time in its history, the CHP is taking steps in the direction of a solution to the Kurdish issue. No one should turn this initiative down,” BDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş said Sunday, speaking to state channel TRT. 

“Instead of anticipating and refusing, everyone must support and corroborate. Creating a commission in Parliament and a committee of wise men from Parliament could open a new door to the solution,” he said.

“Above all, we need to discuss how we can end the environment of violence. We have to consider building a long-term solution. In a recent meeting with the government, they [AKP officials] came up with some offers to stop armed conflicts that we cannot realize. The BDP’s power is not enough to stop conflicts,” Demirtaş said.

Erdoğan, however, hinted that he did not see much prospect of a dialogue with the BDP officials. “My colleagues in the party have already met with the co-leaders of the BDP. I personally have met them. But they have never been loyal to [the content of] these meetings. Sometimes they explained that they had received different instructions, and we saw that they can do nothing with their own wills,” he said. 

Best moment to solve problem 

Replying to such criticisms, Demirtaş said that although the government was fully aware that there were no organic ties between the BDP and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), it had not accepted the BDP’s potential mediation role. 

“If there are two clashing elements, both have to approve a mediator. If the government accepts we can play a role to convince the PKK to drop their arms. We already do this, but a declaration of intention is important here … Despite the pessimistic look, Turkey is going through its best opportunity to solve the Kurdish issue,” he said.

Republican People’s Party’s package of proposals

The Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) package to be discussed between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at 3 p.m on June 6 at the ruling party’s headquarters in Ankara consists of the following items:

1) The Kurdish issue remains at the top of the country’s agenda. Violence and terror activities continue as a result of the lack of a solution to the issue. Our country’s human and economic resources are being wasted in addition to the daily losses of life. 

2) The history of the Turkish Republic is full of evidence demonstrating that the Kurdish problem cannot be solved with security-focused policies. 

3) Putting other [non-security-focused policies] into practice without delay is a necessity. The political sphere must be reorganized and new political measures should be implemented in a way to provide a democratic solution that will bring about societal peace. 

4) The main location for solving important problems concerning all of society is Parliament. Solving the Kurdish problem requires a national contract. 

5) Society wants to see a solution that will produce security, comfort, confidence and peace under which no citizen will lose his or her life while also ending increasing polarization and tension due to deadlock.

6) It is inexplicable and unacceptable that Parliament, which has already started a process to seek a societal consensus for the new constitution, has not launched a similar initiative on the Kurdish problem. 

7) The main objectives of our proposal are to create direct and constant dialogue between the political parties, reduce differences in perspective and approach to a minimum, and reground the language of politics in compromise and the search for a democratic solution. 

8) Our proposal is to form a “Social Consensus Commission” under the roof of Parliament and to form a “Group of Wise People” to function on the civilian side in cooperation with Parliament. 

9) The Social Consensus Commission will consist of eight members and be based on the equal participation of the political parties represented in Parliament. The Wise People Group, which will consist of 12 personalities again distributed equally between the political parties, will assist the commission. The Social Consensus Commission will decide on its own working rules and methods as well as define the duties of the Wise People Group. 

10) Article 10 summarizes the CHP’s work on the article.