Turkish military not ‘excluded’ from peace process: Gov’t

Turkish military not ‘excluded’ from peace process: Gov’t

Umut Erdem ANKARA
Turkish military not ‘excluded’ from peace process: Gov’t

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç speaks during a press conference. AA Photo

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has denied that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has been excluded from the Turkish government’s peace process to end the 30-year-long Kurdish issue.

Arınç’s words came in response to a motion filed by a deputy of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) based on remarks by Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel on the issue.

“The government has a policy and this policy is ongoing. We do not know the road map of the peace process. Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said their work would be sent to public institutions, but nothing has been sent [to us] yet,” Özel had said in late August, adding that he could only comment on the road map after seeing it.

In his motion, Baydar asked about the TSK’s role within the process and whether it has been excluded from the process. The question was addressed to Davutoğlu, but the response came from Arınç, who replaced Atalay in Davutoğlu’s Cabinet, formed in late August, taking over responsibility for the peace process portfolio.

Arınç mainly referred to Article 117 of the Constitution, which relates to the office of the Commander-in-Chief and Chief of the General Staff.

He said that “excluding the TSK from the process is out of the question,” recalling that Article 117 stipulated the functional relations and scope of jurisdiction of the Defense Ministry with regard to the Chief of the General Staff and the Commanders of the Armed Forces is regulated by law.

“Efforts concerning the resolution process are being conducted transparently and within the public’s knowledge,” Arınç said, also adding that the legal framework for the process has already been set and approved by Parliament.

In August, responding to a question on whether the military’s “red lines” have changed over the past decade on the Kurdish issue, Özel suggested there were “some differences” on the definition of “red lines” compared to 10 years ago.

“They [the government] say mothers should not cry any more. This is what we want too,” he said, while underlining that the “unity of the country” was also significant as a “red line” for the military.