BDP Kürkçü: Package inadequate, offers no contribution

ANF – Ankara 30.09.2013 – Speaking to ANF about the democratization package Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced today, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Mersin deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü said that the package was inadequate and offered no contribution to the democratic resolution process.

Kürkçü said the package included nothing but the recognition of the achievements of the struggle given by Kurdish people and various social circles until today, adding that the package however satisfied only a few demands highlighted by these circles.

“The package doesn’t present any steps serving democratization. The recognition of the letters W, X and Q is related with the fact that Kurds have already broken the bans on their language thanks to their resistance against sentences”, Kürkçü underlined. Referring to the removal of the ban on headscarf in public sphere as part of a change in the dress code, Kürkçü said this was also an achievement of women wearing headscarves who have fought in order to continue working in public institutions.

Kürkçü remarked that the package did not consist of the recognition of political rights, nor answered the basic demands of Kurds in relation with the “peace process”, such as the rearrangement of the political parties and election laws, removal of the election threshold, right to equal representation and establishment of local parliaments. He added that “the package however presents nothing in respect to local self-government, nor does it recognize the European Charter of Local Self-Government which could help to come up with a solution to the problem in the country”.

Referring to the arrangement concerning the election threshold, Kürkçü said the alternatives highlighted in the package [1)maintaining the current threshold of 10%; 2) lowering the threshold to 5% while implementing single-member district constituency system in groups of five 3) removing the threshold altogether and fully implementing the single-member district system] would pave the way for further representation by the AKP but less representation by BDP deputies, in consideration of the present distribution of deputies in the parliament. Kürkçü said this system would be to the detriment of all parties that do not have a certain number of voters, with the rate of some 20-30 percent, to nominate a deputy in a region. He added that independent members or deputies of the BDP in Istanbul – in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts- for example would have no chance to be nominated as a candidate in the event that their electoral districts are divided into five separate regions.  

Kürkçü criticized the package for also forcing the BDP to do politics not across the country but within one single region, and warned that this approach would lead up to nothing but the deepening of the political tension and to the discouragement of the desire to be a party to the government of Turkey. He commented the package as a “quite negative reform in the synergy of a solution to the Kurdish question. Remarking that the package didn’t include an arrangement for the Kurdish prisoners in Turkish jails either, BDP Mersin deputy said that; “We would expect to see the change of the reality of unlawful arrest of activists fighting for their rights. This was important. The nonfulfilment of an arrangement in the anti-terror law will enable the nonfulfilment of restrictions on arbitrary arrests by judges and police forces and new trials. It will also pave the way for a hostage policy”.

Kürkçü commented the arrangement in respect to mother tongue education -provision of education in languages and dialects other than Turkish at private schools- as a step deepening inequalities and enabling mother tongue education to the rich alone.  “The package is important for not what it has introduced but for what is has failed to introduce; Kurds propose to share the sovereignty in order for a solution, while the government avoids to bring this issue to the agenda and is maintaining the present system by including only the social and cultural achievements of Kurds in the legislation. Kürkçü said the package provided no contribution to the “resolution process”, adding that; “Peoples in Kurdistan and Turkey have learned after this package that they will not be granted with anything unless they achieve their goals themselves”.