AKP dragging Turkey towards cliff, HDP deputy says

Riot police use water cannons and plastic bullets to disperse demonstrators during a protest in Istanbul, Turkey, December 20, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Published by NRT, 22 December 2015

ISTANBUL – Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is dividing society along ethnic lines and pushing the south towards separation, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat said Monday.

Speaking with Today’s Zaman in an interview on Monday, Firat, a former AKP deputy, claimed Turkey’s future is in danger under the AKP.

According to Firat, security forces under instruction by the AKP government are committing crimes against Kurds in the southeast, where an armed conflict between security forces and fighters affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been ongoing since July.

Firat said peace will prevail if the government re-launches talks with the Kurdish side as part of the settlement process launched by the AKP with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 2012.

The AKP government announced in July the settlement process was frozen due to violence after Kurdish rebels shot dead two police officers on July 22.

According to Firat, the AKP government has dragged Turkey into a swamp not only through its domestic policies but also through its foreign policies.

He said the AKP’s flawed policies towards the crisis in Syria and Iraq has brought Turkey to a situation where it does not have any good relations with its neighbors on the southeastern border.

“The latest issue involving the downing of the Russian jet by Turkey is another failure of the AKP’s foreign policy that proves the AKP cannot analyze or foresee developments in its neighborhood,” he added.

Relations between Turkey and Russia ruptured after a Russian warplane was shot down by Turkish fighter jets on Nov. 24 in a mountainous area in northern Syria after it reportedly violated Turkey’s airspace.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the act a “stab in the back” and warned of serious consequences for Turkish-Russian relations.

“Turkey is experiencing a period that has similar characteristics with the last years of Saddam’s [Hussein] regime in Iraq and that scares me,” Firat said.

A founding member of the AKP, Firat underlined there must be a return to the government’s understanding of democracy that was seen from 2002 to 2008.

Firat also added that the HDP must be a principal actor in the settlement process, which will be a source of relief if it is re-launched.