HDP leader's call for PKK disarmament important but not enough, experts say
by Merve Aydoğan
ANKARAJul 15, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Merve Aydoğan
Jul 15, 2015 12:00 am
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş has called on the outlawed PKK to lay down arms on a local television program Tuesday. Responding to questions on the PKK's disarmament, Demirtaş said: "The PKK must lay down its arms against Turkey. This is a sincere and whole-hearted call. This war must end, and I am not just saying this, but really saying it to make a change." In regards to Demirtaş's recent call, the Ankara-based think tank organization, Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), Politics Department Director Nebi Miş underlined that though Demirtaş's statements are politically highly significant, they are a "result of a paradox." Stressing that the PKK's terror activities are harmful to Kurdish communities, Vahap Coşkun, an associate professor at Dicle University in Diyarbakır, also said Demirtaş's statements are important as it would definitely lead to new discussions within the PKK.
In coalition talks, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had also visited the HDP's co-chairs and made noteworthy comments on Demirtaş's recent statements. Davutoğlu said during his visit to the HDP he urged the party to display a stance against all armed groups. Underlining that he had also watched Demirtaş's call for disarmament, Davutoğlu said: "We must display a common stance against terror and violence if we want to prevent the conflict throughout the region from entering Turkey." In accordance with Davutoğlu's call for the HDP to clearly display a stance against terror, Coşkun also stressed that politicians must clearly and loudly state that terror activities are flawed.
With the HDP's claims during the election campaign that it is the party embracing Turkey as a whole, the recent terror activities by the PKK have caused some to question the HDP and the reconciliation process. In this regard, speaking to Daily Sabah, Miş said Demirtaş's recent remarks are directly relevant to the HDP's aims of becoming the party of Turkey. Underlining that Demirtaş's statements came shortly after terror activities by the PKK in eastern and southeastern Turkey, Miş said: "Many have begun to question the HDP. Throughout the elections the HDP was holding a political stance that supported democratization and becoming the party of Turkey, then many began to question how the PKK reinitiated its terror activities to disturb the reconciliation process shortly after the elections. Demirtaş's statements came after these questions."
Miş said Demirtaş's remarks are the "result of a paradox." "While Demirtaş says that his statements are unrequited and that the real addressee is İmralı and Qandil [referring to the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and northern Iraq's Qandil Mountains, where the PKK headquarters are], he also claims that he is for disarmament and that he is making the call. Thus the HDP is practicing two-sided politics," Miş said. Emphasizing that the HDP's two-sided politics that continuously urges disarmament is applied daily and is cyclical, Miş added that such a stance does not have any long-term results.
Coşkun strongly condemned the recent terror activities of the PKK and said they are harmful to Kurdish communities, the reconciliation process and the democratization process. He further added that PKK leaders had also made similar calls for ending terror activities in Turkey and that the same PKK leaders defined those who carry out terror activities in Turkey as traitors. Reiterating that Demirtaş's recent statements are highly significant, Coşkun said Demirtaş and the HDP must not appeal for aid from such terror activities. While Miş stated that we must wait for the PKK leadership to make statements in order to analyze whether the PKK will lay down arms and end terror activities, Coşkun said Demirtaş's remarks would definitely have an effect on the organization and would definitely make critical decisions.
In a Wednesday press statement, Davutoğlu said the HDP was able to enter Parliament with high votes due to the current success of the reconciliation process, which was initiated by the previous Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government. He additionally said the HDP, which obtained 80 seats in Parliament, must refrain to seek aid from the PKK and the government must take necessary steps to successfully conclude the process. "As the reconciliation process extends, different actors come into play, which makes the situation harder to resolve. Thus the government must take necessary steps and provide the required conditions for the PKK," Coşkun said.