“We are discussing peace” conference starts in Ankara

ANF – ANKARA 08.09.2013  –  “We are discussing peace” conference by the Peace Council of Turkey has started in the Turkish capital Ankara on Saturday.

The two-day conference will handle the steps needed to be taken by the Turkish government and labor and democracy powers in the country for the advancement of the democratic resolution process in search of a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question.

The conference is being attended by representatives of a number of political parties, unions and non-governmental organizations including PSAKD, IHD (Human Rights Association), TUHAD-FED as well as BDP deputies and members.

Making the opening speech of the conference, Hakan Tahmaz, Spokesman of the Peace Council of Turkey, pointed out that the democratic resolution process is currently going through a challenging period amid debates over the withdrawal of Kurdish guerrillas, and the percentage of those who have finalized their withdrawal. “Nothing can justify the re-beginning of clashes and deaths. This is what we live for”, he underlined.

Tahmaz remarked that the process was not transparent, and that the media deepened the already present public distrust in the negotiation process. Tahmaz called on the government to gain a different point of view towards the process and to stop thinking that it could lead the process with its own power.

Remarking that “nobody other than the government knows anything about the democracy package to be announced soon”, Tahmaz said the government has yet to announce some reports of the Wise People Commission as well. He reminded that the works of Wise People were important and could make contributions to the resolution process.

Referring to the debates on the withdrawal of Kurdish guerrillas from northern to southern Kurdistan, Tahmaz pointed out that this problem was a consequence of an earlier failure to establish a delegation to monitor the withdrawal and to prevent the emergence of a distrust environment like that experienced in the former withdrawal process.

Referring to the attitude AKP, CHP and MHP displayed during debates on mother tongue, Tahmaz commented this attitude as worrying developments with regards to the achievement of democracy and peace in the country. Tahmaz called attention to the recent attack on the cemetery of guerrillas in Mardin’s Nusaybin district, and remarked that this kind of incidents and the government’s silence about them hurt the people’s hope for a solution. Tahmaz also criticized the government’s militarist attitude towards recent developments in Rojava, underlining that this also led to concerns and a lack of confidence in the resolution process. Tahmaz pointed out that Turkey needed to undergo a change by ensuring the achievement of democracy in all areas of life. “This is the only way to peace. We do not expect this process to end up in the desired way unless realistic steps are taken for peace”, he added.