No risk of fracture of process but expectations not met, says BDP co-chair after Kandil talks

ERBİL – Anadolu Agency – Hurriyet – 6.7.2013 – BDP co-chair Gültan Kışanak traveled to the outlawed PKK’s headquarters in the Kandil Mountains with the independent Kurdish deputy Ahmet Türk. Unlike in previous visits of parliamentary delegations to Kandil, the two did not carry letters from the PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan.

The ongoing Kurdish peace process is not at risk of fracture, but the expectations of Kurds have not yet been met, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Gültan Kışanak told reporters July 5. She was speaking on her return from the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq, where she held talks with senior leaders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“Following recent developments it became necessary to meet the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) executives in Kandil. We held talks with government officials at the beginning of the week, so then we came to Kandil to talk about the peace and resolution process,” Kışanak said, describing the meeting as “positive.”

“We believe all parties should fulfill their responsibilities on time and without shortcomings. We don’t see a fracture, however the situation still does not meet the expectations of the parties and the public. In particular, there is a big gap between the Kurdish people and its political authorities with the stage we are at,” she added.

“There are many problems to be solved. The consultations will continue. We have talks to increase the dialogue with [the jailed PKK leader Abullah] Öcalan,” Kışanak said.

She traveled to Kandil accompanied by the independent Kurdish deputy Ahmet Türk. Unlike in previous visits of parliamentary delegations to Kandil, the two did not carry letters from Öcalan.

After the PKK started its withdrawal from Turkish soil in May, June has been a turbulent month in the peace process, especially due to the nationwide anti-government protests sparked by the demolition of Istanbul’s Gezi Park. Last week’s clash between villagers and soldiers in Diyarbakır’s Lice district – a sensitive area at the heart of Turkey’s southeastern region – left one dead and caused concerns regarding possible repercussions on the ongoing process.

BDP co-chair Kışanak also conveyed a message from the PKK leaders in Kandil, saying that they still backed the process. “They told us clearly: We have taken a strategic and historic decision. We are aware of our determination and putting in huge efforts to realize it. We are trying to move the process forward, but of course we have expectations and concerns,” she said. The BDP has recently been urging the government to hold talks for the so-called “stage two” of the process, “stage one” referring to the initial pullout of the militants. “Stage two” involves the government outlining the democratic reforms seen as necessary to keep the process going.