Turkish deputy PM says pro-Kurdish party wants autonomy

Turkey – June 1, 2015 – Selçuk Çolakoğlu – USAK / Journal of Turkish Weekly – Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan on Monday accused the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) of seeking autonomy for southeastern Turkey after the June 7 general election. “You have already 40 parliamentary members,” Akdogan said during an interview with the Channel 24 news broadcaster. “What difference will it make if you have 50 in this election? The only reason is to… declare autonomy during the atmosphere of the election.”

The HDP, which is standing as a party for the first time in a general election, is seeking to pass the 10 percent threshold that will allow it to take its place in the Grand National Assembly.The party currently has lawmakers who stood as independents in the 2011 election and joined the party after being elected. Akdogan claimed people feared the HDP would “turn the place upside down” if they entered parliament.”They will say the southeastern part of Turkey chose them and they will try to cantonize there,” he said. Turning to the “solution process” that is seeking to end the three-decades-old conflict between the Turkish state and the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Akdogan said the “parallel state” – an alleged plot led by U.S.-based cleric Fetullah Gulen to overthrow the government – was trying to block peace efforts. The solution process was initiated in 2013 but the talks have slowed as Turkey was nearing the elections.