Beştaş: The Kurdish issue must be solved to get peace

HDP Meral Danış Beştaş said: "Unless the right interlocutor is recognised, the Kurdish issue will remain unsolved."

Turkey last year was characterised by the formation of many new political parties. Kurdistan cities were the first address where these new actors from the center right and left started their movements.

Names such as Ahmet Davutoğlu, Muharrem Ince, and Mustafa Sarıgül were some of the people recently seen in Kurdistan. According to the HDP Parliament Group deputy chair Meral Danış Beştaş these parties have stepped into politics in Turkey knowing very well that the main issue is the Kurdish problem. Beştaş also emphasizes that the issue is mostly instrumentalized and the solution is avoided.

We talked with Meral Danış Beştaş about the attitude of the new parties that have recently emerged and their interest for a solution.

Can you explain why we have seen the emergence of such parties?

Actually, this issue has several dimensions. One dimension is that the Kurds are seen as a group of people in this country that can be easily persuaded, easily "deceived" so to say. Such initiatives are not starting from the assumption that Kurds have important demands and struggles. The Kurdish people are actually standing in front of them as a problem, as a people that has been discriminated against for 100 years, living in unequal conditions. They cannot speak their own language and constitute the poorest people in the country.

Can we say that all these parties changed the main focus?

Of course. For example, it is said that Mustafa Sarıgül will also establish a party and make his first visit in Şırnak. Muharrem Ince reminded that the Kurds were not thanked after all this time. Why hasn't he spoken about this issue before? Did he remember that just when he was launching a new party? Frankly, these questions are asked by both us and the public. Because there is a mentality that instrumentalizes rather than responding the demands and solve the problem of the Kurds.

But all these initiatives show us one thing: That the Kurdish issue is one of the most fundamental issues in Turkey and all politicians know this very well.

You also stated that these parties instrumentalize the Kurdish problem.

In fact, we hope that they really aim at a solution-oriented approach. We, as a party, have no complex on this issue. If an attitude is shown in favour of peace, not war, with the right solution and language, we are ready to support it, as we stand for a common solution.

What is the overlooked solution? What should be done most urgently today?

Actually, it is very clear what needs to be done. One quarter out of a 83-million population in Turkey are Kurds. In addition to the 40-year war, there are unknown perpetrators of the massacres and evacuations of villages during the Republic period. A full denial and rejection policy was implemented from the Independence Courts to the State Security Courts. From time to time, there were ups and downs in this politics.

We remember Demirel's words or Mesut Yılmaz's discourse by which "the road to the European Union passes through Diyarbakır". This is an issue that Çiller or many prime ministers before her talked about; but none of them ever approached the issue in a positive way, only as a tool for their own politics. The most serious picture of the will for a solution emerged in the 2013-2015 period. An Imralı delegation was formed, meetings were held with Mr. Öcalan at a table established within the knowledge and by initiative of the state. Disarmament was now spoken out loud. We actually remember that period as today. Above all, there was a correct correspondence there.

When HDP says the solution is in Imralı, criticism comes from various groups. And the HDP is said to be criminalized because of this. What would you say to that?

The HDP is a political party. Our role is to contribute to the solution of the Kurdish problem in a democratic, peaceful and of course honourable way, between the parliament and the society. We are in favour of this solution and we don't have any ‘buts’ for it. We defend the freedom and rights of every individual, of course, not just Kurds. But there is an issue beyond our will and that is the arms issue. After all, we are not an armed structure. There is another structure there. That is the PKK. Peace is not possible without the KCK being involved. This is a very objective situation. This is the case all over the world, of course, the process is carried out with political parties; however, a dialogue is also established with those armed organizations, and we see this happening all over the world.

In Turkey the counterpart is Abdullah Ocalan. But today, the interlocutor who will build the peace is kept under absolute isolation. He is a person who has made efforts to contribute to peace, dialogue and solution and to ensure the coexistence of peoples in every meeting since 1999. He has demonstrated and repeated his will at every opportunity. He even said that he would solve this problem in a week in the last meeting. I do not include all parties in this, but sadly the general tendency is one that ignores that side and thinks that it can be solved by isolation and destruction.

But we have seen for years that these policies do not solve the problem. On the contrary, they deepen it. Today the Kurdish people are living anywhere in Turkey. They are in Istanbul, Adana, Izmir. Of course, the deepening of the issues is affecting these people first hand, but in fact all of Turkey is affected. Look, Erdogan recently replied to the criticism about the economic crisis, saying: ‘War doesn’t come for free.’ He cited, even declared, the war budget among the main causes of the economic crisis in the country today. This problem affects not only Kurds, but every segment of society. Therefore, as long as all these political movements or actors do not address the main focus of the issue and determine the interlocutor correctly, all roads will lead to the Kurdish geography, but the problem will remain unsolved.