Turkish gov’t, HDP seek thaw in Kurdish bid talks

Turkish gov’t, HDP seek thaw in Kurdish bid talks

Turkish gov’t, HDP seek thaw in Kurdish bid talks

The HDP's İdris Baluken (L), Pervin Buldan (C) and Sırrı Süreyya Önder make a statement after returning from İmralı Island Prison on Nov. 12. AA Photo

The government and the Peoples’ Democratic’ Party (HDP) are seeking ways to mend moribund talks on solving the longstanding Kurdish issue following days of tension between the two over the matter.

“I want to clarify that a mutual will emerged [between the parties of the settlement process] over the continuation of the process yesterday,” HDP Deputy Parliamentary Chair Pervin Buldan said.

Still, a parliamentary delegation involved in the stalled peace process has insisted that changing the composition of a delegation to the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan was solely up to Öcalan.

“The delegation was composed by Mr. Öcalan, nobody else can determine [who will participate]; there will be no change in the delegation,” HDP Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder told reporters on Nov. 12 at a joint press conference along with Buldan and the other HDP deputy parliamentary group chair, İdris Baluken.

The statement came after the government declared the withdrawal of PKK militants from Turkey and an end to all violence as the two most important conditions for the continuation of the process. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held a security meeting about the settlement process late on Nov. 11.

Önder said they would not accept any pressure from the government on the issue. Talks should resume, he said, adding that they objected to any suggestion that there should be a fixed "schedule" for the peace process. 

Elaborating on the possible establishment of a secretariat for Öcalan during negotiations, an issue that was subsequently denied by government spokesperson Bülent Arınç, Önder said the matter was agreed upon before Arınç made his “unfortunate statement.”

“If you are conducting negotiations with someone, you have to provide working conditions for them … I think Arınç made that statement before he had sufficient information about the issue,” Önder said, noting that they had information that this agreement was still valid.

For her part, Buldan warned that blocking visits to Öcalan would be interpreted as a de facto termination of the process, while she reiterated that the government had so far only shared a draft road map for the rest of the process, not a detailed one.

Criticizing the government for accusing her party of disturbing the public order by instigating the Oct. 6-7 Kobane protests, Buldan said that if the government wanted to ensure public order, it "must establish a fully democratic order."

The parties are determined to overcome deadlocks and accelerate the process, Baluken said, elaborating on a meeting on Nov. 11 between the Imrali delegation and government officials including Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan and intelligence chief Hakan Fidan. HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş also attended the meeting.

The delegation wants to hold another round of meetings with government officials this week and then visit Öcalan on the weekend.