Posted by: hevallo | February 28, 2011

>BDP Co Chair, Selahattin Demirtaş, on Turkish Elections.

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Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party has announced it may back figures with alleged links to an outlawed terrorist group as it seeks to win at least 40 seats in Parliament.

“We will have candidates who are on trial in the KCK [Kurdish Communities Union] case. There are names that we support, and we are getting applications from them too,” Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Friday.

More than 150 people, including 12 elected mayors from the BDP, are on trial in the KCK case, accused of links to the group, the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

Demirtaş also cautiously hinted that the BDP might consider nominating some figures from the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq, where the outlawed PKK has camps.

“We are not enforcing any limitations. And we are not saying that they must be from there. If their legal circumstance permits it, we will consider their applications,” he said. Demirtaş added that the party has “not set aside a quota for those from Makhmour, Habur or prison,” referring to the Makhmour refugee camp in northern Iraq and the controversial group of returnees who entered Turkey through the Habur border gate in October 2009.

The BDP currently holds 20 seats in Parliament, a figure Demirtaş said the party aims to double in the June general elections.

“Our goal is to double the number of our group and reach 40 deputies in Parliament. This is a realistic goal for us,” he said. “We can have four deputies from Istanbul. We will also have deputies from Adana, Mersin and İzmir for certain. We are also assertive in Bursa, Manisa, Aydın and Kocaeli.”

Because the BDP has not met the 10 percent national election threshold for representation in Parliament, the party will run in the elections with independent candidates. Ahmet Türk and Aysel Tuğluk, who were dropped as deputies last year, will return this year, according to Demirtaş. He said the ethnic identities of candidates are not important, and that the BDP treats everyone equally, whether Turkish or Armenian.

No alliance with CHP or MHP

Agreeing with observers who have said the BDP could play a key role in determining the composition of the next Parliament, Demirtaş implied a possible election alliance with the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP. He ruled out, however, making one with either the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, or the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP.

“Principles are what matter here. We are on the side of freedom and peace in the Kurdish issue. We are on the side of a new Constitution that respects different beliefs, identities and gender. We will work together with a party that accepts all of this,” the BDP co-chair said. “We will never be with those who claim that we support terror. We will work toward Turkey’s future together with organizations that respect our will and demands.”

Despite his signals of a possible alliance with the AKP, Demirtaş also expressed his discontent with the ruling party’s Kurdish politics, accusing the government of using the PKK’s temporary cease-fire as a way to garner votes in the election.

“The end of the cease-fire means conflict and deaths. We did our job; the ball is now in the government’s court. The government must take a solid step in order for the cease-fire to continue,” he said. “The Kurdish issue cannot be solved by calculating votes. It worries us that no solid step has been taken yet. We hope the government puts effort into preserving the cease-fire.”

In his comments, Demirtaş also warned that the political outcome of the government ignoring the PKK’s and the BDP’s demands would be very serious. “Who knows when another cease-fire will be declared? This is why we are worried,” he said. “The cease-fire must not end, and the government must be braver.”

‘Hurtful’ politics against the BDP

Vote-gaining tactics used by the government and many political parties under the name of a “Kurdish initiative” are “hurtful,” according to Demirtaş.

“It’s like the Kurdish people are sick and need treatment, like it is wrong to vote for the BDP. This view is wrong,” he said. “All parties, including the AKP, that use the initiative to get votes from Kurdish people have failed.” He added that parties must take Kurdish people’s innate rights into consideration when making politics.

The CHP’s approach to the Kurdish issue is “timid,” according to Demirtaş, but he allowed that the current main opposition chief, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, is being more proactive on this subject than former leader Deniz Baykal.

“There is a pursuit, a change in the CHP, but they have just begun. There was no pursuit during Baykal’s term, that is the only difference,” the BDP co-chief said. He added that the social democrat approach taken by Kılıçdaroğlu instead of an ethnic- or religious-based view, is what “ended the CHP” in the Southeast Anatolia region.

“It is a hurtful approach. It is hurtful to see people voting for the BDP as dangerous. What ended the CHP was its lack of respect for the people of the region. This is what ended the AKP too,” Demirtaş said.

BDP to take action on mass graves

Demirtaş told the Daily News that the BDP is planning a series of activities to raise public awareness about the region’s biggest problem, mass graves and unidentified murders, and criticized the government for not taking steps to resolve the matter.

“We go to a mass grave at least once a week and make statements,” he said, adding that the government had failed in investigating the many mass graves in the area – 114 in Hakkari, 100 in Bitlis and another 100 in the Cizre-Nusaybin-Silopi region.

“The prime minister has yet to say a single word on the matter. The prime minister’s only concern is votes. If public opinion formed [to address the issue], he would say, ‘Let’s meet with the families.’ He is a pragmatist like that,” Demirtaş said. Source:Hurriyet

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