In his remarks, which were reported by T24, Akdogan said the government has taken important steps regarding the settlement process to resolve Turkey's longstanding Kurdish issue, and it hasn't made the reforms over the issue as part of any bargain, Today’s Zaman reported.
“The settlement process is not a [random] process that can be sacrificed for the [parliamentary] elections; this is a strategic issue for us. … We won't take a step back from this process,” he said.
Akdogan further blames Peoples’ Republican Party (HDP) and said the HDP has a role regarding the ongoing talks as part of settlement process and that its members need to act carefully.
“I don't find Mr. [HDP leader Selahattin] Demirtas's statements against Mr. President or his negative remarks over the settlement process appropriate,” Akdogan said and reiterated his comment that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AK Party, which he is co-founder leader of, launched the settlement process.
On Wednesday, the deputy prime minister criticized Demirtas and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leadership based in the Qandil Mountains over remarks targeting President Erdogan, saying Erdogan is the architect of the process and his stance on it is of vital importance to how the process will proceed.
Akdogan also refuted allegations from the HDP, which is participating in the talks between PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and the government, that if it fails to get enough votes to enter Parliament, the settlement process will fail.
“If the HDP cannot enter Parliament, it is not end of the world; this [settlement process] is state policy. … Those who play with fire will be burned in the end. When this process started, was the HDP in present in Parliament? Those who take up arms will lose,” the deputy prime minister stated.
The HDP decided to run in the upcoming elections as a party, instead of individual candidates as it did in the past; however, concerns are growing over the fate of the settlement process if the HDP fails to get enough votes to surpass the 10 percent election threshold for Parliament.