Kurd reform bill ‘within days’, as Turkish presidential elections beckon


24-6-2014 – Kurdistan Tribune – Ahmet Türk: “We don’t trust either ”The Turkish government plans to present to parliament a reform bill to advance the peace process, according to Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay. “I gave a presentation on it at the last cabinet meeting. A decision was made and within a couple of days we will present it to parliament as a draft law,” he told reporters.

The bill is expected to give a legal framework to the peace process which has until now pivoted around talks between the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and Turkish state officials.

Atalay’s announcement comes in the run-up to presidential elections: the first round of voting is on 10th August. The likely candidate of the ruling AKP, prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will face Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, candidate of the Turkish opposition and nationalist parties, the CHP and MHP. Erdogan hopes to win crucial Kurdish votes, especially if there is a second round after the to-be-announced candidate of the pro-Kurd HDP has been eliminated.

Ahmet Türk, the veteran Kurd politician and co-Mayor of the Mardin Metropolitan Municipality, told reporters earlier this week: “The president we want is neither the candidate of AKP, nor the candidate of CHP and MHP. We don’t trust either candidate. We are trying to create a collective alternative with the people who believe in democracy and indeed, we are concentrating on a candidate who will lead the transformation and change. Because of that, we are not the followers of joint presidential candidate İhsanoğlu or of Erdoğan. We will behave towards our principles. We know our candidate will have no chance to survive until the second round. At the second stage, the most important thing is that the votes of Kurds and democrats in Turkey will be the determining factor. For democracy, for the future of the Kurdish people, for a democratic Turkey, we will declare our demands and will make a decision in line with our demands.”