Turkish government ‘working on’ wise men peace commission

Turkish government ‘working on’ wise men peace commission

Turkish government ‘working on’ wise men peace commission

The involvement of civil society groups, labor unions and businesspeople will have a positive effect on the peace process, says PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. DHA photo

Turkey’s government is working on forming a wise men’s commission as part of the ongoing resolution process, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan revealed yesterday, noting that they were not presently considering involving Parliament in the peace process.

“As the government, we are working on the issue of wise men. But we should not consider wise men individually. Wise men should represent institutions. The involvement of people representing NGOs, labor unions and businesspeople would positively affect the process. We are working on this issue,” Erdoğan told reporters at a press conference in Ankara before his departure for an official visit to Denmark.

Erdoğan spoke following a mini-summit with Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin and National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan at his office in Parliament in the afternoon after addressing his party’s parliamentary group. Upon reporters’ questions ahead of the meeting, Erdoğan said “such meetings are natural.”

When asked whether the government was considering informing Parliament and other political parties about the recent peace process involving talks with the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, Erdoğan said: “We don’t have any intention for now to bring this issue to Parliament for discussion. We are evaluating all steps taken [regarding this process] among ourselves. When the time comes, we will discuss the result with our people.”

Erdoğan also strictly ruled out any connection between the fourth judicial package that is set to be discussed at Parliament’s Justice Commission tomorrow and the recent process. Noting that the package aimed to eliminate rulings against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Erdoğan said: “The package has nothing to do with the KCK [Kurdistan Communities Union] case. I’d like to assure you once more that we will not adopt any provision for bargaining.”

Speaking earlier in the day at his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting, Erdoğan said the government had been effectively walking on a knife’s edge throughout the process while refuting opposition claims that they had been bargaining with the PKK or its leader.

“We have never been involved in bargaining; we have not been, and we will not. Making a concession and taking a step backward is out of the question. We have never been in an initiative which would hurt [the memory of] our martyrs and we will not be,” he said.

The prime minister said they were making some statements for the sake of the process, not because they were concealing something from the people.

Erdoğan said the month of March heralded spring and was also a time of revival and hope with the warming weather and increasingly verdant nature.

“We wholeheartedly hope March 21 is celebrated with this enthusiasm and this hope. We say, let this Nevruz be one of hope, let it be almost an insemination for the resolution process and let it be a Nevruz during which smiling faces increase … We hope Nevruz – which is in this region is the harbinger of spring with its all aspects— will be celebrated as a day which opens the door to solidarity, enthusiasm, hope and fraternity; but not to provocations and clashes. I congratulate everybody’s Nevruz,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan also accused both the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) of not being farsighted, while saying the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) was following ethnic-based policies that were addressed only to a certain part of the country.