Turkish gov’t, HDP deny autonomy in negotiations in Kurdish peace process

Turkish gov’t, HDP deny autonomy in negotiations in Kurdish peace process

Turkish gov’t, HDP deny autonomy in negotiations in Kurdish peace process

Deputy PM Yalçın Akdoğan (C) shakes hands with the HDP's Sırrı Süreyya Önder before a meeting. AA Photo

In strongly-worded remarks, Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan has ruled out any discussion with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on prospects of “autonomy” as part of the peace process, while a leading deputy of the HDP who indicated the presence of such a discussion has also denied this claim.

“During the meeting with the HDP, a general assessment of the process was made. Issues like autonomy, a general amnesty and İmralı’s draft have definitely not been talked about. Although there are different opinions, proposals and thoughts along the process, what matters is the basic ground and the agreed frame on which the process will proceed,” Akdoğan said Dec. 11, in messages posted to his Twitter account.

İmralı is a byword for the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, serving a life-sentence in the İmralı Island Prison off of the Marmara Sea.

Remarks delivered a day before by HDP Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder prompted Akdoğan to make such an explanation.

The recognition of “autonomy” is part of a “draft negotiation framework” drawn up by Öcalan, Önder told reporters on Dec. 10.

All matters surrounding fundamental rights have been covered in the “Democratic Solution and Negotiation Draft,” Önder said when asked to elaborate on the draft’s role alongside “democratic negotiations.”

However, later in the same day, Önder also clarified his own remarks.

“There is no title as ‘autonomy’ in the draft,” he was quoted as saying in a statement delivered to private NTV news channel late Dec. 10. “There is a series of content such as the democratization of local administrations and growing sources."

The frame was handed over by Öcalan to a visiting delegation including Önder on Nov. 29. In addition to Önder, the deputy parliamentary group chairs of the HDP, İdris Baluken and Pervin Buldan, and veteran politician Hatip Dicle, were part of the delegation that visited Öcalan after a hiatus since the last visit, which took place on Oct. 22.

The same delegation conducted a lengthy meeting with Akdoğan as recently as Dec. 8. During the meeting with Akdoğan, thought to have been the longest public meeting between the HDP and the government so far in the peace process, the HDP delegation was assumed to have officially shared Öcalan’s framework with the government.

After its meetings with Öcalan and Akdoğan, the HDP delegation, apart from Önder, went to the Kandil Mountains along the Iranian border of Iraq in order to meet executives of the outlawed Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the urban wing of the PKK, on Dec. 9.

“KCK executives stated that the ‘Democratic Solution and Negotiation Draft’ has been accepted with a full agreement and that, as the organization, they are ready to fulfill all of their duties and responsibilities in moving ahead to the final solution in line with this draft,” the HDP delegation said in a written statement released Dec. 10.