Turkish gov’t submits bill to boost Kurdish peace bid, provide legal framework for PKK talks

Turkish gov’t submits bill to boost Kurdish peace bid, provide legal framework for PKK talks

Turkish gov’t submits bill to boost Kurdish peace bid, provide legal framework for PKK talks

The government’s expected move to grant immunity to the actors of the ongoing efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue comes on the eve of the presidential elections in August. DHA Photo

Turkish government submitted on June 26 a much-awaited bill to boost the ongoing Kurdish resolution process, providing a legal framework to talks and immunity to those who are involved in the negotiations.

The six-article bill, titled “Draft Law to End Terror and Strengthen Social Integration” is expected to be passed in July, as Parliament will continue to work until July 25, despite the summer recess. The first round of the presidential election is slated to be held on Aug. 10.

Just before the submission of the draft law to Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said the legislation would display a “general perspective.” “It constitutes a legal basis for all state institutions’ contribution to the process,” Atalay said, adding that it would provide the ground for “a detailed road map of concrete steps” in the process.

The People’s Democracy Party (HDP) has long been pressing the government to provide a legal basis for the talks aimed at a solution to the decades-old problem. An HDP delegation is set to meet on June 26 with Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who is seen as the government’s main interlocutor in the peace process.

For many, the latest bill is a gesture to Kurdish political parties and figures ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, for which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to announce his nomination on July 1.

The draft law includes the following articles:

• The government determines the measures to be taken in the fields of security, disarmament, and human rights, as well as political, legal, socio-economic, psychological, cultural steps.

• If necessary, it assigns individuals, institutions and organizations to make contact, establish dialogue and meet with individuals, institutions and organizations both inside and outside the country.

• It takes the necessary measures for those who drop their weapons and return home, accommodating their participation in social life.

• It monitors the works conducted within the frame of this law and provides necessary coordination among relevant institutions and organizations.

• It provides information to the public about works conducted within the frame of this law.

• No administrative or criminal liability can be attributed to those who are tasked to fulfill their duties within the frame of this law.

‘Bill shows our determination’

According to Deputy Prime Minister Atalay, the legislation is an expression of the government’s will to continue the peace process.

“The process is approaching a stage where problems will be solved, violence will end, people will leave their arms and come down from the mountains and live in normal social life with rehabilitation,” he said.