Main opposition leader announces 5 principles for resolving Kurdish issue

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu listed five principles for resolving Turkey’s long-standing Kurdish issue during an event at a local research center in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakır, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Gazete Duvar news website.

The CHP leader, who went to visit the southeastern city on Wednesday, has been attending public meetings and talking to opinion leaders since then, reiterating his desire to resolve the Kurdish issue at every chance.

The Kurdish issue, a term prevalent in Turkey’s public discourse, refers to the demand for equal rights by the country’s Kurdish population and their struggle for recognition.

“We need to determine where to resolve the Kurdish issue. The parliament is the place to do it. … I’ve sent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a one-and-a-half-page letter describing how to do it,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Friday during a meeting at the Dicle Social Research Center.

The CHP leader continued to say that “reconciliation commissions” must be formed with the participation of an equal number of representatives from all parties in the Turkish parliament and some “wise people.”

The Wise People Commission was a group of 63 prominent Turkish figures tasked by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government with explaining the settlement process to the public and soliciting their views back in 2013.

The settlement process, which refers to talks between the AKP government and the leadership of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to resolve the Kurdish issue, began in 2012 and ended after two police officers were executed in southeastern Şanlıurfa province in June 2015.

Kılıçdaroğlu also said that those who aim to resolve the Kurdish issue must be “candid,” “honest” and have no “secret, personal agenda.”

“They shouldn’t make engagements they can’t explain to people. They must explain what they’re doing and how they’re doing it,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, adding that parliament and the people must always be informed about the resolution process as long as it continues.

Delivering a speech at a party event in Diyarbakır on Thursday, Kılıçdaroğlu also talked about his determination to resolve the Kurdish issue.

“I know the troubles you have gone through. But I will absolutely bring peace to this country. I will bring tranquility. I will bring fraternity. Whatever the cost, this country needs peace, coexistence, embracing each other and reconciliation,” he said.

In late January Kılıçdaroğlu said real democracy can only be established by settling the Kurdish issue. “If democracy is to be [really] established in this country … the way to do it is through Diyarbakır,” Kılıçdaroğlu had said, signaling new efforts to settle the country’s long-standing problem.

In a move that brought him appreciation, Kılıçdaroğlu also promised last November to acknowledge the injustices of the current and previous governments and to make amends for the suffering they caused various segments of society if his party comes to power in the 2023 elections.

Among the people and groups listed by Kılıçdaroğlu were those who had suffered from political persecution, including thousands of Kurds who were subjected to torture in Diyarbakır’s notorious Military Prison No 5 in the 1980s and ’90s.

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