Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan has slammed the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) for "creating hindrances in the reconciliation process" to end the decades-long conflict with the PKK.
In remarks made in an interview with a private Turkish channel late Friday, Akdoğan said the HDP was now behaving like a spokesman for the outlawed organization. "[HDP Co-chair Selahattin] Demirtaş acts like a spokesman for the PKK; he cannot condemn the deeds of it and cannot keep his distance from the PKK. The Turkish people cannot accept such a relationship," he said. The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey as well as the U.S. and the European Union. More than 40,000 people have lost their lives in terrorist acts conducted by the PKK in Turkey. The reconciliation process was launched by the government in early 2013 to end the conflict. According to Akdoğan, one of the main targets of the reconciliation process is the disarmament of the PKK, "but it seems unlikely on the behalf of Qandil." Qandil is a mountainous region in northeastern Iraq where the PKK is said to host its headquarters. "Öcalan [the jailed head of the PKK] had called on his terrorist organization to lay down arms on Feb. 4, but the HDP announced this move 24 days later on Feb. 28. Normally, they make a statement as soon as they return from the island [where Ocalan is being held]. Why did they not make any statement then? Because Qandil argued against it," he said. Akdoğan said that there was a strong need to disarm the region. "You cannot conduct politics under the shadow of arms, it will be a questionable situation," he said. "If you do not want people to argue that the ‘HDP got its votes by the force of arms,' then you should urge them [the PKK] to lay down their arms. Democracy means politics and arms mean terrorism, this [should be] black and white," he said.