Turkish Prime Minister defends talks with Kurdish ‘representatives’

Turkish Prime Minister defends talks with Kurdish ‘representatives’

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Prime Minister defends talks with Kurdish ‘representatives’

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. AFP photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday he stood behind the idea of negotiations with “political representatives” of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but vowed that military measures against the group would not be let up.

“I’ve said that we will fight the terrorist organization and negotiate with its political representatives. I stand by these words. But they should carefully keep to this framework,” Erdoğan told the parliamentary group of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

He made the remarks in response to the Peace and Democracy Party’s (BDP) calls for dialogue to resolve the Kurdish problem and its accusations the party was being “criminalized” as part of massive police operations.

Yet, Erdoğan renewed charges the BDP was acting under PKK control and defended the judicial crackdown on the party. “The judiciary will do what it must do if anyone acts outside the law and gets involved with a terrorist organization,” he said.

The premier also categorically rejected BDP claims that he personally gave the go-ahead for the botched air raid at Uludere on Dec. 28, 2011, in which 34 civilians perished, calling them an example of “ignorance, enmity and slyness.” He explained the military was not required to seek specific authorization for each action. “We give the security forces authority within a general framework and they use it within this framework. If necessary, they consult with us on some issues,” he said. “We’ll not allow anybody to demoralize the security forces. We will learn a lesson from what happened and fight terror with greater determination,” he added.

In a speech to her own parliamentary group, BDP Co-Chair Gültan Kışanak told Erdoğan “the real ignorance is the idea that they can resolve the [Kurdish] problem through oppression.”

‘Democratic autonomy’

She stressed the BDP had already revealed its proposal for a solution in the form of “democratic autonomy” and described the demand as “indispensible.” Kışanak urged the resumption of talks with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as the only way to resolve the conflict.

In a separate attack on the government, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli argued the BDP and AKP were eroding Turkey’s unity. The speech that Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker made in Kurdish at a ceremony in Diyarbakır last week “cannot be tolerated,” according to Bahçeli.
Bahçeli also urged the government to promptly shed light on the human remains exhumed in Diyarbakır, saying that unexplained digs were damaging the anti-terror struggle.