The prime minister should agree to meet with members of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, to discuss the Kurdish issue, said Justice and Development Party, or AKP, deputy Rüstem Zeydan.
Speaking to his constituency in the southeastern province of Hakkari, Zeydan said President Abdullah Gül’s statement that "There will be good things happening on the Kurdish issue this year" was encouraging, adding that he was one of the strongest backers of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meeting with DTP leaders.
The DTP’s repeated requests to Erdoğan over the past few years have remained unanswered. The prime minister has publicly said that he would never meet with DTP leadership unless they renounce the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, as a terrorist group.
The DTP withdrew its final request for a meeting with the prime minister late last month.
Zeydan, speaking at a press conference with AKP Hakkari chief Mehmet Ertuş said he believed a meeting between Erdoğan and the DTP, followed by a public briefing on what had transpired, was necessary. The president’s initiatives on the matter were praiseworthy, said Zeydan, adding that deputies in the southeast backed such efforts. "DTP leader Ahmet Türk called me. I hope he called the other deputies from the region," Zeydan said. "I told him the region’s deputies need to act in unison to resolve the problem."
The deputy said the DTP was a factor that could not be ignored and should be seen as the main interlocutor on the Kurdish issue. In municipal elections in March, the DTP swept most of the country’s southeast, a development that was seen as a huge disappointment for the AKP. Meanwhile, DTP mayors will offer suggestion for a federal-state system in a report they plan to submit to President Abdullah Gül if he gives an appointment for a meeting.
The mayors’ report suggests the president examine the Basque model, as well as the recommendations of the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, for a solution to the Kurdish problem. The report prepared by 98 mayors from the DTP includes "recognition of Kurdish identity and language in the Constitution, the discussion of a federal-state system and implementation of the Basque model." The mayors said Gül’s remarks on the Kurdish problem were "promising’" and suggested that the president and the prime minister take initiatives to reach a solution.
Referring to Öcalan’s so-called road map on the Kurdish problem, which he will announce in August, the DTP mayors expressed that Öcalan’s suggestions should be taken into consideration and stressed that Öcalan seeks a solution on the basis of a unitary state.
The suggestions of the mayors involve a democratic autonomy project similar to seventh President Kenan Evren’s proposal of dividing Turkey into seven states. It also contains issues like empowering local government and providing municipalities with shares from natural sources such as oil and mines.
If the Presidency agrees to receive the mayors, a group consisting of eight mayors and two DTP provincial council chairmen will visit President Abdullah Gül. But there has been no response from the president yet. Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir said: "The Kurdish problem is a political issue and its solution should be political. If an appointment is granted then we will have an opportunity to convey our people’s expectations."
Daily News Parliament reporter Göksel Bozkurt contributed to this article.