Review by Christos T. Panagopoulos –
“Whichever side breaks the ongoing Kurdish peace bid will pay the price for its actions. We’re determined to keep the solution process going”. With this phrase, Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while being in the plane with a group of journalists on the way back from Kosovo, cleared that he will continue to support onngoing process to end the three-decade-long conflict with the Kurds.
“The side to break the process will pay the price. We will never be the side to break it”, he said.
The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have listed their expectations from the government in return for a cease-fire and the withdrawal of PKK militants from Turkey, but the delay in the process has caused mistrust and tension between the two parties.
The Kurdish side blames the government for not taking any concrete steps and not publicly backing the negotiations.
The government has accused the PKK of not completing the withdrawal within the given timeframe, accusing the group of only pulling out 20 percent of its armed forces so far. Erdoğan said the debate over how many of the militants had retreated reveals an inconsistency between the senior PKK militants based in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq and PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence. “At first, I said 15 percent [of the PKK militants] had left. Then I announced the rate was 20 percent and the BDP chairman admitted this number as well,” he said.
“Even if peace and trust were maintained without any interruption at every point of our country, the security forces would remain in their places,” he stated. Erdoğan also continued defending the MİT chief Hakan Fidan, who has been severely criticized for his role in the negotiations with the PKK and Öcalan. Erdoğan said as he is the one giving the orders, and he was responsible for Fidan’s actions.