Roundup: Turkey’s peace process with Kurds gets complicated: analysts

ANKARA, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) – 10 Feb 2015 – Turkey’s settlement process launched at the end of 2012 to solve the country’s longtime Kurdish problem became complicated with the upcoming elections and a new draft security bill submitted to the Parliament, analysts said.

“There are four months left until Turkish parliamentary elections, and one baffling issue is what the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is up to,” political observer Yavuz Baydar said.He was referring to the HDP’s decision to enter the elections as a political party as opposed to its usual practice of running with independent candidates and defeating 10 percent of the national threshold required for a political party to gain seats in the Parliament.Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the HDP, already announced that the party decided to contest in the June 7 national elections. He was banking on his success for gaining 9.8 percent of the nationwide vote as presidential candidate in last August. However, as a political party, the HDP’s votes in the 2011 national and 2014 local elections were posted as 5.7 and 6.6 percent respectively. Many believe the HDP is taking a huge risk. Kurdish politician and intellectual, Ibrahim Guclu, warned that Demirtas’s success in the presidential election was due to votes he garnered from other parties.

“If the HDP fails to reach the election threshold, this will benefit Kandil,” Guclu noted, referring to military commanders based in Northern Iraq’s Kandil region. “Kandil wants to radicalize the HDP by keeping it out of the Parliament,” he said.If the HDP stays out of the Parliament, it complicates peace talks the government has undertaken with the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), the armed wing of the HDP. “Indeed, if the HDP fails, it will ruin the entire picture, possibly toppling negotiations between Ankara and the PKK, leading to the downfall of social stability,” Baydar concluded. This has presented the country with a new political challenge, said Suat Kiniklioglu, former lawmaker and independent analyst.

Stressing that polls indicate the HDP will face difficulty reaching the 10 percent threshold quota, he said “we will be confronted with this sort of crisis on the eve of June 7 (the election day).”


The pro-Kurdish HDP is also uneasy over new security terms which give police greater authority to use armed force and crackdown on rallies. “We (the HDP) will do whatever is necessary to prevent the terms from becoming law,” HDP leader Demirtas said recently. As other opposition parties in Turkey joined the HDP in opposing the bill, parliamentary discussions on the draft have been postponed to next week for the second time.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed that the government will pass the draft despite opposition. Meanwhile, Turkish journalist Ahmet Takan revealed recently that the PKK will initiate war in Turkey after April 15 if government fails to pass the required laws to establish an autonomous Kurdish region in the southeast as per a secret meeting held in December 2014 between National Intelligence Organization head Hakan Fidan and imprisoned leader of the outlawed PKK, Abdullah Ocalan. Takan said he obtained information on the meeting from an anonymous senior official in government which implies that the PKK leader informed commanders in the Kandil Mountains that if government passes the needed laws by April 15, the militants will not attack Turkey. That puts the government in a difficult position ahead of the June national elections as violence may take a toll on the popularity of the ruling Justice and Development Party. Takan claimed the promised legislation will be passed in a conducive manner to prevent negative backlash from nationalists.