24 March 2012
The Turkish government’s reported new strategy for solving the Kurdish issue has sparked controversy, as a senior minister said he was not aware of such a plan, while leading Kurdish politicians bluntly dismissed it, and the main opposition party has called for an open debate in Parliament.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arýnç said that he was not informed of the new strategy, relayed to the media by anonymous top security officials, which does not include negotiations with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “We accomplished much during the [democratic initiative] process, and we are still continuing to do so. An anonymous person gave a statement on the issue yesterday. I have not been informed of such a new strategy. We will ask those who have prepared it [for details]. We have our own project, and we are making efforts to implement it step by step. Since it is a process, there will be changes. We will implement what we approve of, and we will abandon what doesn’t get results,” Arýnç told reporters March 23.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chair Sezgin Tanrýkulu played down the government’s new strategy, saying that the “so-called new strategy is nothing but a continuation of the security approach [to the Kurdish issue].”
Tanrýkulu said that there is nothing in the new strategy that helps to solve the Kurdish issue, and called on the government to bring the strategy to Parliament. “If the government has a real strategy for finding a solution, it should be discussed with its interlocutors, namely the political party groups in Parliament. But the government leaked the so-called plan to a few journalists rather than bringing it to Parliament. It’s obvious that the government has no plan and no courage to seek a solution,” Tanrýkulu told the Daily News.
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaþ said in Diyarbakýr that no solution could be reached on the Kurdish question if the PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan, is ignored. “The Kurdish people have shown that they will not back down from seeking autonomy and freedom for Öcalan,” Demirtaþ said.
Demirtaþ also revealed that a meeting had taken place between the BDP and a minister before Nevruz, to re-start the negotiation process. He said that the government refused the BDP’s proposal to open a dialogue on the Kurdish issue despite the party’s willingness.