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Erdogan calls on pro-Kurdish party to sever ties with PKK

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called on the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to sever all ties with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The president said that as a HDP is now a political party with seats (80) in the Turkish parliament, it must break with the PKK group, which is considered as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU.

“An offshoot that attained representation at the parliament must do its best [to cut off relations with PKK] as they apparently maintain an indirect link, even if not a direct one, with the terrorist organization,” he told the press after performing the Eid al-Fitr prayer at Istanbul’s Atasehir Mimar Sinan Mosque Friday.

Government officials and Erdogan have regularly accused the HDP of having ties with the group and acting and speaking like its political wing.

Erdogan said intelligence services had established that there were ties between the HDP and the PKK, which the former has categorically rejected.

The Turkish president went on to argue that certain results in the June 7 parliamentary elections proved his point.

“The pro-Kurdish party swept the polls in hundreds of villages while other parties had zero percent vote,” he said, referring to south-eastern Turkey where there is an important Kurdish presence. “It means the local people there are threatened with guns.”

The Turkish government launched an initiative in early 2013 commonly known as the “solution process” to end the decades-old conflict with the illegal PKK, which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people for over 40 years.

Erdogan said that HDP should not attempt to play politics in the next stages of the process and should reject backing from an illegal group if it truly believed in democracy and wanted to stay within the parliamentary system.

During a live interview on Wednesday night, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also said the HDP’s alleged links to the PKK were a cause for concern and called for the pro-Kurdish party to loosen its ties to the group.

The president also touched upon the Feb. 28 meeting between prominent government officials and HDP leaders at the Prime Ministry’s office in Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace where all sides agreed to pursue the solution process following 10 basic principles that would constitute the framework of a possible permanent agreement.

Erdogan rejected calling the Dolmabahce talks an “accord”, as it occurred between the government and a political party.

“Such an accord (…) can only take place at the parliament through joint efforts of the government and all other parties,” he said.

Resource: Middle East Monitor, July 18, 2015

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