Istanbul, July 13 () - The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has voiced its desire to see a restart of the long-stalled peace process amid concerns after the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) threatened to attack dam construction sites in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast due to cease-fire violations by Ankara.
“We have also been following the statements that have been delivered” HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said on July 13 when asked whether a July 11 statement by the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), a supra organization of Kurdish groups that includes the PKK, appeared to signal an end to a cease-fire between Turkey’s security forces and the PKK.
“We have always believed that the resolution process should get started as soon as possible, not from the point at which it was halted, but from a more advanced point, and finalized” Demirtaş said, underlining that they had not delivered rigid statements dismissing the existence of a resolution process, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did ahead of the June 7 election.
“We are not the ones who say, ‘There is no process, there are no parties and there is no table.’ The person who said this is this country’s president” he told reporters in Ankara.
The HDP has been accusing Erdoğan of bringing the process, which had sought to end the three-decade-long conflict in the country, to a halt with repeated remarks in which he said, “There is neither a table nor parties.”
“The state will not be part of these sorts of negotiations. There is no Kurdish conflict,” Erdoğan said.
The KCK statement in question said Turkey’s construction of military outposts, dams and roads for military purposes had violated the cease-fire.
According to Demirtaş, it was not a declaration ending the cease-fire, but was a reminder that a cease-fire needs to be mutual. The KCK is speaking of “retaliation” in the event that controversial construction projects are not halted, he said.
In separate remarks delivered to local newspaper Özgür Haber in Diyarbakır, Demirtaş cited the jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan, who has been central in the process, as the person who could tell the PKK to lay down their arms.
“Even if we give a call, the PKK would definitely not consider this as an instruction while they may appreciate it because we don’t have a hierarchical relation with the PKK. There is no organic relation” he said, highlighting that the HDP’s main role was to be played out under parliament’s roof.
Demirtaş also said the HDP was ready to continue organizing the exchange of messages among Ankara, İmralı Island where Öcalan is serving a life sentence, and the PKK headquarters in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq.
Demirtaş made the comments ahead of a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting of their party during which they would discuss widespread allegations that it was the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) that started a recent clash in the northeastern province of Ardahan in which a civilian minibus came under fire, leading to the death of an HDP member and injuries to two others.