A GREAT PAN-KURDISH CONFERENCE IN ANKARA
Kurds Discuss Peace, Democracy & Solution Models in Ankara
By Uzay Bulut – RUDAW – 13-11-2013 – “The countries which have Kurdistan inside their boundaries have seen this issue as a ‘security issue’ but this definition should change,” Jundiyani said, agreeing with Hawramy. “The Kurdish issue is a national and regional question.” – The Kurdish issue is not a security issue and it stems from the denial of Kurdish rights, speakers agreed at a conference in Ankara that gathered politicians and activists from the Kurdistan Region, Turkey, Syria and Iran.
“The core idea of the Kurdish issue is that the states under which Kurds live did not accept Kurds as they are but as they wanted them to be,” Hemin Hawramy, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)’s foreign relations told the conference, titled “Kurds Discussing Peace, Democracy and Solution Models.”
“The Kurdish issue is not a security issue and it stems from the denial of Kurdish rights,” he told the symposium, held last weekend and organized by the International Middle East Peace Research Center (IMPR) with support by the Open Society Foundation and other international organizations.
Its aim was to discuss suggestions and opinions on an important peace process underway to end three decades of conflict between Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and other issues of importance to Kurds across the Middle East. The core idea of the Kurdish issue is that the states under which Kurds live did not accept Kurds as they are but as they wanted them to be. Hawramy said that the KDP will support any peaceful process that will be conducted though dialogue and mutual understanding.
But he added that a “Democracy Package” announced by the government in Turkey falls short of meeting the needs and expectations of the Kurds, and “should be seen only as a first step toward a change in mentality of the Turkish state toward the Kurdish issue.”
The Kurdish issue is an issue of an entire nation so this peace process should not be wasted for some election games or political games,” Hawramy said. “In order to resolve the Kurdish issue, confidence building mechanisms should be established and those mechanisms should be reciprocal,” he added. Azad Jundiyani, spokesman of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), said that the two-day weekend conference could not fully meet its objectives without the presence of the PKK. He demanded that a new conference be organized in another country where all voices in the issue will be heard, including the PKK, which is outlawed in Turkey. “The countries which have Kurdistan inside their boundaries have seen this issue as a ‘security issue’ but this definition should change,” Jundiyani said, agreeing with Hawramy. “The Kurdish issue is a national and regional question.”
Yousif Mohammed, an MP from the Change Movement (Gorran), said that his party backs the peace process in Turkey, but feels it has slowed down. “The basis of a civilization is peace, so we want the process to be successful for coexistence of peoples,” he added.
Meanwhile Abubekir Ali, a senior member of the Islamic Union, also voiced his party’s support for the peace process in Turkey, but said the steps to be taken should be more visible. “The Kurdish issue is not an issue of terrorism or poverty. Violence and poverty are the outcomes of this problem,” he said. “Kurds are not a minority. They are one of the biggest nations of the region and they have been divided against their own will,” he noted. “Federalism could be a good solution for this problem.”
During a question-answer session, Hawramy also expressed the KDP’s views on Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is seen as an affiliate of the PKK.
The Kurdish issue is not an issue of terrorism or poverty. Violence and poverty are the outcomes of this problem . “We do not want to dictate or copy-paste our own experience on Syrian Kurdistan. We have talked with PYD officials but they have not kept to the Erbil agreement,” he said, referring to a deal signed in the Kurdistan capital to unite all Kurdish groups in Syria.
“They (PYD) have relations with the Assad regime and they are protecting Qamishli airport together,” he said, reiterating charges that the PYD denies. “The Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan should be united in their own agenda and should not be following the agenda of the other countries,” he added. Replying to a question about a planned Kurdish National Congress in Kurdistan, Hawramy said “there are some obstacles,” but promised that “it will definitely be held.”
Halil Aksoy, an MP from Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), criticized the absence of the PYD at meeting. “It is not a positive development that the PYD, which is one of the most important political parties of the Middle East, is not represented here,” he declared. Aksoy blasted the Turkish government, saying it was playing a dubious game against the Kurds in Rojava, or Syrian Kurdistan. “The government’s policies on Rojava are a blow to the peace process. The government’s supporting the gangs in Rojava, its closing the border gates and preventing the people from accessing medication are all obstacles to the process. So we have serious doubts in trusting the sincerity of the process,” Aksoy said.
“We are still governed by a Turkish nationalist and militarist constitution,” Aksoy said. “Peace cannot be achieved with this constitution. Four thousand Kurdish villages were burned down and five million people were forcibly displaced ever since the Turkish state was established, but we still have not seen positive steps taken by the government.” Meanwhile Mohammad Saleh Qaderi, the representative of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) in Erbil, said that Iran has declared a “jihad” against the Kurds, and is siding with Assad’s regime in Syria.
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