Kürkçü: Negotiations only possible with Kurds at the table

Repression against the Kurds has a high level of tolerance from the EU and the U.S. despite human rights violations, says Mersin MP
Born in 1948, Ertu?rul Kürkçü is a member of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in the western province of Mersin, the BDP representative in the Human Rights Commission of Turkish Parliament (currently investigating the slaughter of Roboski that killed 34 Kurds) and a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

BDP deputy Ertu?rul Kürkçül argues that an eventual negotiation to solve the Kurdish political conflict, reduced by the Turkish authorities to a simple “problem of terrorism”, must be accompanied by the cessation of violence of the armed forces and security and a criminal code reform to curb political repression, military and judicial Ankara exerted not only on the Kurdish liberation movement but on most Kurds. And above all, must involve the Kurds.
How does you evaluate the growing wave of arrests and court judgments against politicians, trade unionists and Kurds?

More than 6,000 detainees represent a daily average of ten arrests during the past year and are part of the crackdown that began in 2009 and has accelerated after the 2011 general elections because of the success of the BDP. The new security strategy of the Turkish government has as objective to hinder any negotiations for the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK) maintained their armed struggle and thus criminalize the Kurdish liberation movement in the face of public opinion and legitimize its political repression, military and judiciary.

Do you feel disappointed with the reaction of the European Union and the international community?

Domestic repression in Turkey against the Kurdish movement has a high level of tolerance from the EU and the U.S. despite the obvious human rights violations. To end the Kurdish movement, political repression and military actions against the PKK are always justified on the grounds that it is a terrorist organization. In addition, the West needs the support of Turkey against Iran, the main ally of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

What do you think about the Turkish government propaganda by which Kurds in Syria and the PKK are working with Al-Assad?

The executive of Erdogan lacks credibility from the moment that defends human rights abroad while imprisoning children in their own state. The Kurds have no reason to support Bashar al-Assad in the repression of the Syrian people and are also smart enough to not support the fundamentalist Free Syrian Army. Turkey can not use the status of Kurds in Syria to justify foreign military intervention in the Arab republic. As BDP we are totally against military intervention in Syria, not because we defend Al-Assad, but because Turkey will use the military invasion to attack the Kurds in Syria and further destabilize Kurdistan.

The Kemalist CHP has presented a roadmap to resolve the Kurdish conflict and its first meeting was with the AKP, is it possible to resolve this long political conflict without the Kurds?

Obviously it is impossible to resolve the Kurdish conflict without the Kurds. If you only have the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the government Justice Development Party (AKP) at the negotiation table, you have no plural discussion. The government aims to simplify and reduce the conflict to the problem of terrorism and the CHP share this vision. Although the CHP has raised the initiative, the AKP is aware of the existent level of political representation of the opposition party in the Kurdish regions.

The goal is to get the BDP and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) on the political agenda and solve the problem together. If you really want to address the Kurdish issue, the negotiations must be accompanied by a cessation of military violence and a criminal code reform to curb judicial repression.

What to expect from the new Constitution?

Independence 20 years ago was the main objective to be achieved through armed struggle, now we want an autonomous status within the Turkish state to guarantee the democratic rights of Kurds.

Leftist organizations that defend the Kurdish movement and the recognition of other people in Turkey have joined forces under the umbrella of the Congress for a Democratic Society (DTK) and are working on creating a new political coalition to become operational in 2013. Its implementation has been supported by Abdullah Öcalan and the goal is to attend the municipal elections next year. If we increase the number of municipalities and break the 10% electoral barrier, the coalition will be the main political rival of the AKP.

Soon it will be a year of isolation of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan in the prison of Imrali. What is you assessment?

Abdullah Öcalan in Turkey has earned the status of a political leader and is the only figure that brings together all factions and sensitivities that exist within the Kurdish liberation movement. It is also one of the most experienced thinkers and the one who has presented solutions to solve the Kurdish issue. Silencing Öcalan means silencing the debate on the resolution of the Kurdish conflict. Our intention is to place this issue on the political agenda of the country and start a discussion in the Commission of Human Rights of the Turkish Parliament.

What about the obstacles and little transparency in the Committee on Government Research on the slaughter of Roboski?

The responsibility lies with the slaughter of the military leadership and the Erdogan government, both for giving the ok to the bombing and for obstructing the investigation of the Court of Diyarbakir and Research Commission by not providing the necessary documentation. The Turkish Parliament also shares the blame because it is it which authorized cross-border military operations and gives the nod to carry them out. We want to know how and who ordered the attack. Otherwise we can not advance in the investigation.

David Meseguer is an independent Catalan journalist. He run the blog http://www.davidmeseguer.com/


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