ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
The main opposition party has asked the government to clarify the motives behind its recent initiatives on the Kurdish issue and relations with Armenia and repeated that it would not be a part of such moves.
“Don’t count us in. We are not going to be your fellow travelers; you have already some other fellows. Bon voyage to you! But I advise you to return from this journey as soon as possible,” Deniz Baykal, the leader of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said over the weekend.
Baykal’s words were a response to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has said his party would knock on the CHP’s doors if it does not consent to meet.
“The government’s move is putting Turkey under the pressure of an ethnic identity. However, the majority of our citizens of Kurdish origin have no problem being part of the national identity,” Baykal said.
Arguing that as a result of the government’s approach to the issue, a minority group that is focused on dissociation rather than integration with the rest of the country has been accepted as speaking for all Kurds, Baykal said: “This point is disturbing both Kurds and Turks. On purpose or not, they are doing wrong.”
According to the CHP leader, the government’s Kurdish move has nothing to do with the democratization of the country. “You cannot stop terrorism through encouraging dissociation. That, in fact, would encourage the terror,” he said, adding that negotiating with those who seek separation would bring nothing but more problems.
Baykal also argued that the government is, in fact, aware of the road map produced by Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, but cannot make it public due to the growing reactions. “With this government’s move, Öcalan has become a political figure. The DTP [or pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party] says that the real interlocutor is Öcalan,” he said.
Questions on Armenian move
The CHP leader also expressed reservations about the government’s Armenian move. Noting that the protocols aiming at normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia were initialized April 2, just days before U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Turkey, Baykal said he had asked President Abdullah Gül whether the two had raised the issue of protocols during their meeting.
”I just want to learn. [They were] initialized in April, announced now. … It has not been written down, but the Americans are in expectation [of the signing of protocols],” he said. “The president will make a statement either to confirm or to deny.”