Reaffirming his determination to bring the peace process to a successful conclusion, the Turkish PM says whoever ends the bid will pay the price
Whichever side breaks the ongoing Kurdish peace bid will “pay the price for its actions,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, pledging never to be the one to end the process. “We’re determined to keep the solution process going,” Erdoğan told a group of journalists in the plane on way back from his visit to Kosovo.
“The side to break the process will pay the price. We will never be the side to break it,” he said.
Erdoğan’s vow to maintain determination over the ongoing process to end the three-decade-long conflict came amid Kurds’ rising skepticism of the government’s keenness to sustain the dialogue, with increasingly loud remonstrations coming from Kurdish political actors. 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,” the prime minister said.
I’m responsible for MİT’s actions: Erdoğan
“Thank God, our National Intelligence Agency [MİT] is very strong,” he also said, thanking the institution that has a leading role in carrying out the peace talks. Not only the MİT, all national security forces are monitoring the issues as they should do, and are acting considering “even one in a million problem possibilities,” Erdoğan added.
“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.
Despite the MİT chief having acted upon the prime minister’s orders, Erdoğan stressed he had been targeted since his involvement in the “Oslo talks” last February. “The MİT chief and his team are now taking part in the İmralı process upon my direction. They are doing their jobs and taking risks for our country’s peace and welfare,” he said.