“There is no doubt that arms should be silenced in this country. This is our biggest desire. But here is the point that we don’t agree with the government on: They want to ‘sell’ the peace dream, but we want to present the peace to our peoples,” HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtas said on March 3, addressing a parliamentary group meeting of his party.
“We are wondering how this mentality can bring peace to the country,” said Demirtas, who has recently come under fire from both Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc.
According to Hurriyet daily, both Davutoglu and Arinc have suggested that Demirtas is not as constructive as other HDP executives involved in a recent joint press conference alongside ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials. At the Feb. 28 conference, a call by imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan asking his outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to convene a congress in the spring to decide to end its armed struggle was relayed.
“Let me repeat: We don’t believe at all that the AKP will bring democracy, freedom and peace to this country. They say that the declaration has been delayed because of me. The declaration was to be announced seven months ago, why didn’t you declare it then? For what reason? Why did you block it for seven months? As the government, answer this question first. You know the reason why: They wanted to announce it close to the elections. But now we are making this declaration with three months left until the elections, so what laws [on the resolution] will parliament discuss?” Demirtas asked.
“We don’t trust the AKP and this drives them crazy … How could we when there is nothing to trust? Which laws have you passed to improve democracy so far? What have you offered to the people of Turkey in the name of peace? This government is incapable of bringing permanent peace to this country. Their mentality won’t allow it. This is why the HDP must grow,” he added.
The ruling AKP is seeking support from Turkey’s estimated 15 million Kurds in the parliamentary elections in June in order to change the constitution and imbue the office of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the party’s founding leader, with more executive powers.
“Resisting such a cruel government is a blessed job, let alone overthrowing it. What matters for the government is not ceasefire, but the pretense of a ceasefire before the elections. Yes, the PKK will lay down arms, but this will be thanks to us. We will enter parliament stronger. We will succeed. We will come down from the mountains through democratic reconciliation,” Demirtas said, referring to PKK fighters in the Qandil Mountain in Kurdistan Region.