The HDP co-chair Ertugrul Kürkçü, the General Secretary of the European Socialist Party Yonnec Polet, Green MEP Mark Demesmaeker, Hugh Pope of the International Crisis Group, Prof. David L. Phillips from the Human Rights Research Institute at Columbia University, Günter Seufert from the Institute for International and Security Affairs in Germany and journalist Günay Aslan were speakers at this session of the 10th conference on Europe, Turkey and the Kurds, which opened on Wednesday afternoon at the European Parliament.

Kürkçü: A brand new climate has emerged

The first speaker, Ertugrul Kürkçü, explained the HDP, saying: “We have a symbiotic relationship with the Peace and Democracy Party and will be involved in joint struggle with it.”

Kürkçü addressed the Kurdish question, saying: “The question we face today in Turkey is an internal issue. The international community can only play a complementary role. The dispute in Turkey has two aspects: the rights denied to all citizens, and, secondly, the collective rights denied to peoples who are not Turkish, first and foremost the Kurds.”

Kürkçü emphasised that their aim was to achieve a democratic republic with rights and freedoms, adding that the conflict had harmed Turkey’s economy, and that the new process initiated by Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan had created ‘a brand new climate’.”

Kürkçü continued, saying: “We must realise that this process cannot continue without the positive contributions of the international community. A third party is needed,” adding: “It is also essential as regards a solution in Turkey that the international community adopt a pro-freedom stance on developments in the other parts of Kurdistan.”

It is necessary to warn Turkey over Al Qaeda

Kürkçü told the USA to stop suggesting and supporting Turkey regarding the murder of PKK leaders. Recalling the murders in Paris, Kürkçü called on the international community to restrict the activities of their intelligence organisations. Kürkçü also called for a strong warning to be given to Turkey for its military threats towards Rojava and its support of Al Qaeda groups, adding: “It is our right to expect the international community to lend its support to the founding of a democratic Syria incorporating autonomy of peoples.” “Turkey should be presented with successful examples in order for the talks in Imrali to become proper negotiations,” he said.

“The Turkish government must ensure its parliament involves all sections of society in a joint peace project to achieve a result,” adding: “it is the duty of the international community to support whoever is in favour of peace.”