ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rejects the idea of establishing a new commission to renew the charter before the general elections, planned to be held in June 2011. AP photo
The Turkish government is nearly ready to inform opposition parties in Parliament of the progress it has made in behind-the-scenes meetings convened to help end the country’s terrorism problem.
“There is no problem regarding informing Parliament on those contacts. It can be done,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters before his departure for Bulgaria on Monday.
The government has engaged in an active campaign to end the threat posed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, through intense dialogue with central and regional Iraqi authorities, neighboring countries Syria and Iran, as well as the United States.
Some officials from the National Intelligence Organization, or MİT, have been reportedly meeting with Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK, at least on reaching an accord on an open-ended cease-fire that could give the government enough time to deal with the Kurdish question by granting greater rights.
“We are working hard to get results in the fight against terrorism as soon as possible,” Erdoğan said.
Arguing that the government’s efforts were in fact aimed at reaching a negotiated solution with Öcalan, opposition parties called on Erdoğan to be more transparent.
Turkey’s foreign and interior ministers traveled to Syria on Sunday to discuss the joint fight against the PKK.
According to diplomats, Turkey and Syria are close to finalizing an agreement that would strengthen their ongoing cooperation on terrorism, a move that is of special importance because nearly a quarter of the PKK’s members are said to be Syrian citizens.
Ahmet Davutoğlu and Beşir Atalay, Turkey’s foreign and interior ministers, respectively, will also travel to Iran in the next few weeks to discuss the PKK problem.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.
AKP closes doors on new charter before polls
Erdoğan also expressed his disagreement with the main opposition party over the timing of a new Constitution, rejecting the idea of establishing a new parliamentary commission to renew the charter before next year’s general elections on the ground that there was insufficient time.
“What we say is, let’s form the teams and make the work for the new Constitution with the opposition and civil society. Following the elections, let’s take a step for the changes,” he said.
Asked about “the democratic contract” proposal set as a pre-condition by Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, leader Devlet Bahçeli for his help on a new charter, Erdoğan said the opposition leader was being inconsistent based on his earlier statements.
“Earlier he was saying that Parliament no longer had the legitimacy to rewrite the Constitution,” Erdoğan said. “The general elections will be held in the first half of June. If we consider that it will require 90 days for the preparations, we see the legislative year will end in March. It’s not possible for Parliament to conclude that in time.”