Turkish PM: Kurdish bid to go on if promises fulfilled

Parliamentary Assembly Session April 2011Session de l'Assemblée parlementaire avril 2011Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said late July 7 that the Kurdish peace process could continue “if promises given in 2013 are fulfilled,” speaking at an iftar fast-breaking dinner in the eastern province of Van on July 7.

“If the peace process is going to continue, it should be known that the promises given in May 2013 should be kept,” Davutoğlu said. “It is not enough to discuss ceasefires. Those who believe in real democracy, freedom, peace and human rights should talk about disarmament.”

In May 2013, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) announced a ceasefire and declared that its militants would be withdrawn from Turkish soil. The PKK’s move came after a letter penned by jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, which was first read in Diyarbakır during Nevruz celebrations in March 2013.

“Every weapon that is carried illegitimately in Turkey is an assault device that targets peace and brotherhood. We have instructed all security forces to do what is necessary against anyone who carries arms, in order to protect public order,” Davutoğlu also added.

He stated that all those who believe in democracy, freedom, peace and human rights, should talk about disarmament.

Davutoğlu criticized the Kurdish-problem focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for failing to adopt a “clear attitude” on the issue.

“The HDP, which does not have a clear attitude against the separatist terror organization, keeps on talking about ‘peace’ but remains silent on attacks. We have instructed the security forces. We will take measures against those who attempt to disturb public peace,” he added, saying all parties in parliament should show a united stance against terror and attacks.

“I call on all political parties to speak with one voice [on this issue],” said Davutoğlu.

“If they really are in favor of democracy and peace, then they have to make clear their position on democracy and terror. Nobody has the right to stay silent in the wake of these attacks when they speak about democracy,” he added.

The stalled government-led Kurdish peace process is aimed at ending the three-decade-long conflict between Turkey’s security forces and PKK militants.

Davutoğlu’s remarks came after an HDP statement demanded that the government resume its meetings with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı Island prison in the Marmara Sea, south of Istanbul.

Öcalan, serving a life sentence on İmralı Island, has been in dialogue with state officials, the HDP and its predecessor, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), since at least late 2012, and is playing a central role in the process.

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