Upsurge in violence jeopardizes peace process

Upsurge in violence jeopardizes peace process

Upsurge in violence jeopardizes peace process

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks with chief of General Staff Necdet Özel during the official national day ceremonies on Oct. 29. AA Photo

The peace process appears to be near collapse as the government has reportedly decided to freeze dialogue with the related parties following consecutive attacks on members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

The government has decided to freeze contact with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), as well as contact between state officials and jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan for an indefinite period of time in the already stalled efforts for the peace process, as reported by CNNTürk.

In an address to the nation, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu urged all related parties to act with a sense of responsibility.

“Everybody should clearly distance themselves from this culture of despotism, this terrorist mentality and vandalism,” Davutoğlu said in his address titled “On the Way to New Turkey,” that was aired on several televisions late Oct. 30.

“Both our resolution process and our steps for development in the region will be continued with the same determination; nobody should have a doubt about this,” Davutoğlu noted.

Nonetheless, on Oct. 31, Davutoğlu openly referred to the HDP by its name, as he said: “Claiming rights through violence is not accepted anywhere in the world. In no democratic country is demanding rights through the use of violence or by damaging the environment excused.”

The HDP on Oct. 29, along with the People’s Democratic Congress (HDK), the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), which is a multi-party based group inspired by the PKK; and the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), the HDP’s sister party, released a joint statement in which they called on people to take to the streets Nov. 1 in order to show support and solidarity with the besieged Syrian border town of Kobane as part of the International Day of Global Action for Kobane.

Davutoğlu said he instructed all governors to not let public order be disrupted. It is time for the HDP to display that it is a peaceful party, he added while speaking a day before the planned demonstrations, which are feared to turn violent as happened in early October.

The HDP’s Oct. 29 call displays that they have not taken a lesson from what happened, Davutoğlu said, referring to the deadly street violence that left more than 35 people.

The unrest, which peaked on Oct. 6 and 7, led to the deaths of dozens of people in clashes between rival groups, following protests over the government’s perceived inaction toward Syrian Kurds besieged by jihadists in Kobane.

“Calls to take to the streets, while there is an opportunity to discuss existing issues all together in a peaceful environment, are neither legal nor well-intended. They are also of a damaging characteristic for the resolution perspective and sincere efforts that we have so far exerted,” Davutoğlu said. “I hope the HDP executives derive the required lessons from developments and truly act like a political party,” he added.

Speaking to CNNTürk following their report suggesting the government had suspended the process, Pervin Buldan of the HDP argued that suspending the process would lay grounds for all kinds of provocations and killings. “That’s why, instead of keeping the people waiting, the government should take faster steps,” Buldan said.

While drawing attention to the potential repercussions of “freezing” the process, İdris Baluken, also of the HDP, fiercely rejected CNNTürk’s claim that their appeal to visit Öcalan was rejected.

“We believe there is need for urgent efforts to eliminate problems, rather than polemics through the media, in order to overcome this deadlock,” Baluken said.