Turkish PM urges opposition to take joint peace bid

Turkish PM urges opposition to take joint peace bid

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish PM urges opposition to take joint peace bid

Prime Minister Erdoğan (C) rules out the possibility of a general amnesty amid recent discussions on solving the decades-old Kurdish problem. AA photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged the main opposition to join its efforts to end Turkey’s Kurdish problem and resolve the four-decade-old question, repeating its call to form a joint working group to shape the roadmap together, a day after the social democrat leader vowed to issue an open credit to the ruling party in its bid to solve the problem.

“I have assigned my three friends. They are still on duty. If he assigns his own three friends, they can immediately start to work and do whatever is necessary together. Be it legal arrangements or steps that require joint actions,” he said yesterday before his departure to Gabon.

Erdoğan’s statement addressed the Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who issued an open credit to the ruling party but avoided taking on a joint bid with the government.

Kılıçdaroğlu suggested the formation of an interparty commission in Parliament to specifically deal with the Kurdish question and terror problem but his proposal received approval only from the ruling party.

Erdoğan then made a counter-proposal to establish a two-party working group, which did not receive an endorsement from the CHP.

Meetings with Öcalan

The discussion between the two parties over the methodology in dealing with the problem has been revived after the government officially launched a fresh initiative and sent the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief, Hakan Fidan, to meet Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The move was followed by a snap visit of two senior Kurdish politicians to Öcalan last week, boosting hopes for a breakthrough in resolving the problem. Kılıçdaroğlu expressed its conditional support to the process on Jan. 5, saying, “Despite all the mistakes it has made in the past, we are issuing the AKP new credit. So solve the problem.” The main opposition leader said, however, their support was not an open ended one and it wanted to be informed through the course of the
talks, adding that Parliament should also be part of the process.

Erdoğan was seemingly annoyed by Kılıçdaroğlu’s use of the words issuance of new credit. “What credit will you give? You, yourself, are in need of credit. Which credit are you talking about?” Erdoğan responded.

He also rejected calling ongoing talks a new process and reiterated his call to the main opposition, saying, “If they will be honest and sincere, then I tell them that my team is ready. They are welcome. We have informed Parliament on various occasions. We have done it several times.”

On the role of the media and civil society, Prime Minister Erdoğan said they have not received sufficient support from these circles and called on all responsible groups to join hands.

Regarding discussions on whether this process could bring about a general amnesty, Erdoğan ruled out the possibility. “Let me be clear on this: general amnesty for those who engaged in acts of terror is out of question. This should be well-known. For example, there are false stories about house arrest for [Öcalan]. This is out of the question. It will never happen during an AK Party government.”