Iranian Kurdish Parties Resume Talks on Unity

26/11/2012 RUDAW By SAKAR ABDULLAZADA – KOYE, Kurdistan Region – More than six years of separation between the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) and the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (DPK) seem to be coming to an end.

In 2006, a group from KDPI’s central committee split from the party and announced the formation of the DPK. The first public attempt at rapprochement between the two parties was the result of efforts by Frederic Tissot, the former French consul general in Erbil. On Aug. 8, the party leaders met at the French Consulate and the seeds of reconciliation were planted between the democrats. Later a KDPI delegation visited the DPK in Koye. This was the first official meeting between the two without the mediation of a third party. Recently, on Nov.11, a delegation from DPK visited the KDPI political bureau.

Hama Nazif Qadri, a KDPI political bureau member and part of the delegation who engaged in talks with DPK, said, “It was a friendly visit; we discussed the issues and other subjects and stressed the importance of the talks continuing.”

Aso Hassan Zada, a DPK central committee member who met with the KDPI delegation, said, “Our meeting was held within the framework of a mutual will to resolve the issues between the two democratic parties and unify our lines. These meetings are preliminary aimed at preparing the ground in order to overcome future obstacles.”

On Nov.8, in a meeting hosted by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) political bureau in Sulaimani, the secretary generals of both the KDPI and DPK met with secretary general of Socialist International, Luis Ayala.

Zada dismissed claims that this meeting was an initiative of the PUK or Jalal Talabani. “The democrats are one house and have many things in common. The quality of these direct talks between us does not need the mediation of a third party.”

While the officials of both parties are talking about the need for rapprochement and unification, KDPI media outlets are telling a different story, referring to the DPK as “former comrades.” This has worried allies of the KDPI who describe this attitude as returning to square one.”We have different interpretations on the issue of names,” Qadri said. “The issue of names has been an obstacle to resolving our problems.”As a precondition for the resumption of negotiations, the KDPI demanded that the DPK change the name of their party as they believe two democrat parties cannot exist in Iranian Kurdistan.

On the other hand, the DPK feels it has a right to the name it has chosen and considers itself an extension of the KDPI which was founded in 1945 in Mahabad.

Zada said that there is a way to overcome this problem. “Both parties can refer to each other in a way that expresses respect and equality, instead of making our current names an issue that hinders the unification process. Our intentions to unify require this from us,” he said. At the last KDPI convention in September, their 15th committee assigned the party to work on the unification of the democrats. Qadri said that the party policies remain the same — “to remove the obstacles and resolve the issues.” He added, “All efforts are towards reaching a settlement as soon as possible. I believe if our former comrades value the importance of these talks, which are to serve the democrat party and the liberation movement of the Kurds, we will reach a solution sooner. The bigger part of the responsibility lies on the shoulders of our former comrades.” Zadri said, “After these talks, some of the walls between us have collapsed, but we should not stop here. Now is the time for concrete solutions. The most difficult part is to find the mechanism to unify the two parties. For this, both sides need to accept each other as they are and form a unified democrat party as true comrades.”