CHP’s Leader Vows to Continue Kurdish Peace Bid With Only HDP

kilicdaroglu1The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has vowed to continue the Kurdish peace process if elected in the June polls, but has stressed he will regard the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as the sole interlocutor in the talks.

In a meeting with a small of group journalists, CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu responded to questions on Turkey’s agenda and if his party would continue dealing with the Kurdish peace process and hold talks with Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“There is already the HDP. Meet the HDP if you like. And the HDP would hold talks with whoever they want. But you [as the government] should deal with legitimate interlocutors. And this interlocutor is the HDP, as one of the legitimate actors of Turkey’s political life,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. The CHP has long been pressing the government to conduct the ongoing Kurdish peace process under the Turkish parliament’s roof so that it would become a transparent and national bid.

Recalling clashes between the army and the PKK in early April in the eastern Anatolian town of Ağrı, Kılıçdaroğlu expressed his sincere wish for there to be no security problems throughout the course of the elections. “But there exists a process based on non-confidence. This had two important legs: the government and the Kandil [Mountains, the location of the PKK’s main headquarters in northern Iraq]. But now there is a third leg: The president. There are significant problems on that axis. This process will not help resolve Turkey’s most chronic problem,” he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the government for not reducing the 10 percent national election threshold, which should have been one of most important priorities of a genuine peace process. “If you want to see the Kurdish political movement being represented in parliament, you should remove the 10 percent election threshold. And the [HDP] could put it as a pre-condition for talks. All parties except for the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] are in favor of reducing the threshold. So why does the HDP not bring this issue on the table when all other [oppositional] parties agree on it?”

Kılıçdaroğlu also said the AKP will not be able to win more than 330 seats in parliament despite the fact the HDP will fail to pass the threshold, dismissing arguments that HDP sympathizers will take to the streets in protest of the election results.

The required number of votes to introduce a constitutional amendment to a referendum is 330. AKP officials believe the HDP will not be able to reach the 10 percent election threshold and therefore not be able to enter parliament, which would help the ruling party to have more than the 367 deputies needed to amend the constitution without going to referendum.kilicdaroglu1

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