Demirtas asks for the formation of united Kurdish army

The co-leader of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirats asked for the formation of a united Kurdish army to counter the militants of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and said Iraqi northern city of Shingal is better to change into an autonomic region. In a press conference at HDP headquarters in southeastern province of Diyarbakir, Demirtas said Kurds should forget party interests and whoever does not attempt for unity has committed a big crime, adding that a new united armed force should be formed ad a situation should be created to form the force and “party leaders should discuss the issue.”

Not only Peshmerga and other armed groups but also people should have the possibility to join the force, he said, reiterating that the move will be a great step to counter IS heinous crimes. T HDP leader said people in Shingal are in a very critical situation and suggested to change the city and surrounding areas to be changed into an autonomous system. Demirtas further said Turkey should consider sending arms to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in its fight against the Islamic State.

 “The PKK is fighting [against IS]. Turkey should consider what to do if the PKK asks for arms. Why not [send arms] when we consider the current peace process? It might sound strange, but why not send arms to the PKK if peace comes and the PKK stops using arms against Turkey and fights against IS?” said Demirtas.

He also touched on the progress of the peace process, saying President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would “continue to monitor it.”  “Erdogan wants to have control over the issue. I think he sees himself as being responsible for the issue. So far, there is no time frame written on the table regarding the issue, but they say they want to work with haste,” said Demirtas. The HDP co-head said several laws will be enacted by Parliament in October or November concerning the peace process, adding that government officials made clear they do not want to delay their work, including on reforms regarding freedom of speech. He said the government could work on plans for the return of PKK militants to Turkey, rather than an amnesty, in the coming months. Demirtas also said his party would support an independent Kurdish state in Iraq if it was announced. “We also want Turkey to be the first state to recognize such a state,” he added.