PYD does not represent all Kurds in Syria, says HAK-PAR’s Burkay

30 July 2013 /TODAY’S ZAMAN, ANKARA – The leader of the pro-Kurdish Rights and Freedoms Party (HAK-PAR), Kemal Burkay, has said the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a political offshoot of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria, does not represent all the Kurds in Syria, adding that he does not approve of the establishment of an autonomous Kurdish administration in Syria’s north.

Speaking at a news conference at his party’s headquarters on Monday, Burkay said the Supreme Kurdish Council, which represents all Kurdish groups in the region, has been established, and if there is going to be an autonomous administration, the council may represent the region.

He added that the PYD is an armed organization close to the PKK, and it works in cooperation with Bashar al-Assad. With regards to the ongoing settlement process aimed to resolve the terrorism problem in Turkey, he said Turkey should turn into a federal state if the Kurdish issue is to be settled. For a settlement that Kurds would accept, “The state should get reorganized on a federal basis,” he said. According to Burkay, the Turkish public would be ready to accept such a step from politicians. “I don’t think an overwhelming majority of the Turkish people would be uncomfortable should Kurds be bestowed with cultural and administrative rights at the local level,” he said at the party’s headquarters in Ankara.

At the end of last year, in an effort to resolve the country’s decades-old Kurdish and terrorism problem, the Turkish government launched a settlement process with the imprisoned leader of the PKK.

Burkay is of the opinion that democratization, the settlement of the Kurdish issue and the preparation of a new constitution in Turkey are items all closely related to each other. “Turkey can’t become democratized without the settlement of the Kurdish issue. Similarly, the Kurdish issue can’t be resolved without preparing a [new] constitution favoring the settlement of the Kurdish issue,” he explained.

Despite the ongoing settlement process, Burkay clearly indicated that he doesn’t have any hope that the current drafting of a new constitution will take off and that he also has misgivings about the government’s willingness to resolve the Kurdish issue. “The ruling party doesn’t have a comprehensive project for the settlement of the Kurdish issue nor for a new constitution,” Burkay maintained.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently said that the government does not intend to introduce a right for education in one’s mother tongue or to decrease the election threshold, currently at 10 percent. The ruling party has kept away from granting the right to be educated in any language other than the official one in schools, fearing that such a step would serve to disintegrate the country. The 10 percent election threshold, although much criticized by opposition parties, has been kept on the grounds that it serves to maintain political stability.